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Bice defeats Horn, wins back Oklahoma’s lone Democratic seat

OKLAHOMA CITY — Republican state Sen. Stephanie Bice defeated U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn on Tuesday and won back the only Democratic-held seat in Oklahoma’s congressional delegation.

Bice, 46, earned a reputation as a political moderate in her two terms in the Senate, writing a series of bills to help overhaul the state’s antiquated alcohol laws and inviting a Hindu leader to deliver a prayer after the Legislature faced criticism for its lack of religious diversity.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be standing before you as the next congresswoman from the 5th District,” Bice told a GOP watch party, prompting a roar from the crowd. “I am thrilled that once again Oklahoma, on the federal level, is 100% red.”

Horn, 44, narrowly won the Oklahoma City-area House seat in 2018 in a district that President Donald Trump had won two years earlier by nearly 14 points. Horn tapped into a network of enthusiastic women and young people in increasingly diverse Oklahoma City and pulled off one of the midterm elections’ biggest upsets.

But Republicans outnumber Democrats in the district, which includes several traditionally conservative suburbs and two rural counties. Before Horn’s election, it had been in Republican hands for four decades.

“While tonight’s results aren’t what we want them to be, we have to remember that the fight is not over,” Horn said during a concession speech late Tuesday. “This seat does not belong to a party. It belongs to the people of Oklahoma. And the only way we change things is to keep going.”

Bice, in her second term in the state Senate, had a reputation as a consensus builder.

“I voted for Stephanie Bice because she aligns more with my political philosophy,” said Matt Mullins, 48, a state employee from Edmond who also voted for President Donald Trump. “Plus, Kendra Horn voted to impeach the president.”

While Bice acknowledged the demographics of the district may be getting younger and more progressive, she noted that it still favours the GOP.

“I think if you look at voter registration, it doesn’t align with the narrative that the district is changing,” Bice said during a recent fundraiser. “The core has changed some … but it’s still a Republican district.”

Horn raised nearly $5.5 million, compared to $3.12 million for Bice, but outside groups poured nearly $15 million into the race, about evenly divided between both sides, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Responsive Politics.

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Find AP’s full election coverage at APNews.com/Election2020

Sean Murphy, The Associated Press










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