Voters in Oklahoma’s 5th congressional district have rejected an incumbent for the second time in two years, flipping the Oklahoma City district back to Republicans in an election where Democrats retained control of the U.S. House.
State Sen. Stephane Bice, R-Oklahoma City, defeated Rep. Kendra Horn, D-Oklahoma City, a pickup for Republicans on a night when they retained all other congressional seats, including reelection for Sen. Jim Inhofe over Democrat Abby Broyles.
“Hey, Oklahoma we did it,” Bice told supporters Tuesday evening.
While Horn presented herself as a moderate who supported oil production but not Medicare for All, Bice questioned her willingness to stay in the middle if Democrats took control of the U.S. Senate and presidency.
Bice ran in a crowded Republican primary as a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, winning an August runoff.
Bice largely pivoted away from that strategy in the general election and hit Horn for her votes against offshore drilling, presented as a slight to Oklahoma’s prominent oil and gas industry in an on slot of television and streaming ads in the weeks leading up to Election Day.
For two years, the 5th district was the target for state Republicans, who weren’t ready to concede a district that had been trending more to the left, largely due to changing politics in some suburban communities, a growing immigrant population, and a repopulation of Oklahoma City’s urban center with younger and more progressive voters.
The rest of Oklahoma’s Congressional races went as expected.
Inhofe won re-election despite a mostly low-key race in which he dodged debates with his opponent and spent months mostly comparing her to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and calling her a socialist.
Sen. Jim Inhofe won easily over Democratic challenger Abby Broyles, and Reps. Markwayne Mullin, Tom Cole and Frank Lucas also won re-election without much of a fight, as did Rep. Kevin Hern.
The Associated Press called the race for Inhofe within minutes of polls closing in Oklahoma after he dominated absentee and early voting totals.
Inhofe, who will soon turn 86 and is set to begin a 6-year term in D.C., said this will be his final turn on a ballot after spending decades running for office.
He said early Tuesday he expected to win re-election and spent his morning talking to voters outside his polling place in midtown Tulsa mostly discussing the Presidential election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
Voters would “walk through fire” for Trump while Biden’s voters may lack the enthusiasm to even go to the polls, Inhofe said.
And Inhofe said he hoped to capture some of that enthusiasm for himself.
Broyles said early Tuesday she was confident she would be elected, saying that Oklahomans were tired of the “same-old, same-old” and wanted someone with new thoughts.
But Oklahoma voters disagreed. Inhofe ultimately secured more than 62 percent of the vote at the end of Tuesday with more than 99 percent of precincts reporting.
And, as expected, the rest of Oklahoma’s Congressional races went Republican. Mullin, who had initially promised to term-limit himself before reneging on that promise, easily won re-election.
Frank Lucas also won re-election, as did Tom Cole, two Republicans who the party had counted on to help hold House of Representative seats, though Democrats ultimately ended the night with control of the house.
Kevin Hern dispatched newcomer Kojo Asamoa-Caesar in Oklahoma’s first district, as well.