By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
A state senator who represents Yukon withstood negative campaign attacks to claim victory this week in the Republican primary runoff for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
State Sen. Stephanie Bice, R-Oklahoma City, who represents part of Canadian County in Senate District 22, will face Oklahoma 5th District Congresswoman Kendra Horn in the Nov. 3 general election.
Bice, 46, earned the right to challenge Democrat Horn after beating Oklahoma City businesswoman Terry Neese, 72, by a 53% margin in the Aug. 25th primary runoff election.
With all 273 precincts reporting across the 5th district, Bice earned 27,396 votes and Neese garnered 24,366 votes.
“I am the proven conservative leader in this race,” Bice told supporters after Tuesday night’s election results. “And I look forward to working with all of you to take on Kendra Horn in November.
“Terry Neese ran a tough race, and I am thankful for that. Because now, I can certainly withstand the attacks that are going to come from Kendra Horn and the Democrats for the next 70 days.”
Bice rebounded after her second place showing in the June 30 Republican primary, when Neese finished first (with 24,828 votes) among a field of nine candidates. Bice (17,292 votes) trailed Neese by more than 11% in the primary.
Since no candidate amassed at least 50% of all votes cast, Bice and Neese (as the top two vote-getters) advanced to the Aug. 25th runoff.
Bice managed to close the gap despite being the target of outside groups for voting on tax increases to fund a teacher pay raise, with critics claiming she was a closet liberal.
Oklahoma’s 5th district Republican nominee thanked everyone who voted for her and for their commitment “to our movement to return this seat to conservative leadership.”
“Now the hard work begins!” Bice said.
Primary winner Bice now sets her sights on Horn, 44, who is in her first term in Congress after defeating Republican Steve Russell in 2018. That marked the first time a Democrat had won the 5th district seat in 44 years.
Horn is the lone Democrat in Oklahoma’s congressional delegation, and Bice is looking to help the GOP “take back” the office.
“In Congress, I’ll do what I’ve done in Oklahoma – tackle big problems head-on and work to deliver conservative solutions that grow our economy for hard-working Oklahoma taxpayers,” Bice said.
Bice was elected to the Oklahoma State Senate in 2014. She represents District 22, which is comprised of northern Oklahoma County and eastern Canadian County, including parts of Edmond, Deer Creek, Piedmont, and Yukon.
Bice serves on the appropriations, general government and transportation, finance, public safety, and business, commerce and tourism committees. She previously was an assistant majority floor leader.
Bice told supporters she will need “all of your help” to be successful in November’s election.
“Every Republican in this district and in this state – it will take all of us to defeat Kendra Horn,” she said.
“This race is about so much more than me or you. It’s actually about the future of this party; the future of the district. And I’m not overstating it when I say that this is about the future of America.
“We’ve got to take this seat back for House Republicans, and all of us working together can do that. We will defeat Kendra Horn in November and help President Trump turn this country around.”
In her acceptance speech Tuesday night, Bice thanked her husband Geoffrey and two daughters for their support and encouragement during the campaign.
“I am so incredibly blessed to have such an amazing family,” she said. “I again want to say an incredible thank-you to my campaign team.”
Oklahoma’s 5th congressional district covers almost all of Oklahoma County and all of Pottawatomie and Seminole counties. Principal cities in the district include Oklahoma City, Edmond, Shawnee, and Seminole.