There were 145,541 voters in Congressional District 5 who wanted incumbent Democratic Congresswoman Kendra Horn to continue representing them in Congress.
But, 158,044 wanted state Republican Senator Stephanie Bice for the job and that’s who will take the seat for the next two years in Congress.
CD-5 represents populations in Oklahoma, Pottawatomie, and Seminole Counties.
When it came time for Horn to give her concession speech at the end of a long evening of waiting, she struck a defiant tone, somewhat unusual for the moderate.
In the speech, which mentioned Bice little if at all, she repeatedly used phrases like “we’re not done yet” and “it’s time to start over” which is what she also said to many of her key campaign staff as she hugged them after the speech.
“Oklahoma’s Fifth District doesn’t belong to a party, it belongs to the people,” said Horn to gathered media, campaign staff and select supporters at her watch party.
She seemed to be responding to Republicans who have been upset that the Congressional District was not being held by a Republican. Indeed, the district was where Republican stars like Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and Senator James Lankford established their careers.
“Worth fighting for”
She struck a somber, if not ominous tone about what she believed was on the line in the election.
“Oklahomans showed up today to make their voices heard because there is so much at stake this election. Our health care is at stake. Our public schools are at stake. The future of our communities is at stake.”
“Those are things worth fighting for, and I will not give up that fight. Not when we have so much work to do to give our families, our workers, and all Oklahomans a better life and a better shot at success.”
Ever the policy wonk, Horn listed the issues that she believes are “still there” no matter who serves the district.
Horn highlighted child welfare, lower healthcare costs to individuals, and support for public schools as being areas of critical need.
She said that just because the changes and improvements that need to be made don’t happen the “way we would want it to … doesn’t make it any less important.”
“And if we give up, we’re giving up on ourselves and on our future. And I’m not prepared to do that,” Horn said.
And then, in conclusion, she struck a tone meant to give notice that she would continue to stay in the fight for what she believes in.
“So, now is the time for us to take a deep breath and to continue raising our voices to fight for health care and education and jobs and economic opportunity for our whole communities.”
The numbers from the election reveal a close district-wide race.
Horn won Oklahoma County by a slim margin and lost Pottawatomie and Seminole counties by much wider percentage margins.
In Oklahoma County, Bice’s campaigning for the state Senate in West Edmond and far north OKC in past years showed up in this election as she took control of many precincts in those areas that Horn won in 2018.
The Associated Press reports that in Oklahoma County, Horn received 134,863 votes to Bice’s 132,489. The percentages were 50.4% to 49.6%.
The more rural other two counties provided the boost Bice needed to overcome Horn’s built-in advantage of incumbency.
Pottawatomie County voters went 19,750 (70.6%) for Bice with 8,219 (29.4%) for Horn.
Seminole County, the least populous of the district showed 5,805 (70.2%) for Bice and 2,459 (29.8%) for Horn.
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