State Senator To Challenge Freshman Congresswoman Horn For District 5 Seat
In an emailed announcement Wednesday morning, state Sen. Stephanie Bice, R-Oklahoma City, announced she is running to unseat freshman U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn in 2020.
“Washington is seized by gridlock and runaway spending and a Democratic House majority that has embraced socialist policies and big government solutions,” Bice said in her announcement release. “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, 45, rose to prominence during the last election cycle as a champion for State Question 792 which enacted sweeping changes to the state’s alcohol laws. SQ 792 passed with two-thirds of a statewide vote.
The state senator will run against Horn, 42, who was the first Democrat sent to Congress by Oklahomans in nearly 40 years and only the third woman in state history to be elected to the legislative body. Horn won a hard-fought campaign, narrowly beating former Rep. Steve Russell by just over 1% of the vote.
She also wasted no time in targeting Horn in her announcement, alleging the congresswoman has aligned herself with the Democratic party’s rising far-left members.
“We can’t have a representative who answers to Nancy Pelosi and a far-left socialist agenda,” Bice said in the release.
An ardent supporter of Gov. Kevin Stitt during his campaign to replace Mary Fallin, Bice’s announcement came from the same Indianapolis-based political public relations firm, Limestone Strategies, Stitt hired in 2018.
Horn may prove to be a difficult incumbent to unseat, already showing a strong financial base in the first quarter reports. Her campaign reporting it has raised more than $377,000. Bice has had significant support from the Oklahoma City business community during previous campaigns. Her last campaign for the state legislature has roughly $100,000 left over, although she can’t use that to campaign for federal office.
Rumors of Republican challengers for 2020 began almost immediately after Horn’s election, indicating Bice will likely not be the last Republican to run in 2020. The Republican party began doing phone surveys in the days and weeks after the polls closed asking voters which Republican politicians they preferred. The national GOP also put her name near the list of top targets for 2020.
Among the names rumored were state Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, and former Oklahoma City mayor and gubernatorial candidate Mick Cornett. Cornett has since taken a position at the Jones PR firm in Oklahoma City.
In response to Bice’s announcement, Horn’s spokesman Ward Curtain said in an email, "The Republican primary will be fueled by special interests and filled with right-wing activists jumping over each other to privatize Social Security and take away the gains we've seen in health care, including protections for preexisting conditions. Congresswoman Horn will continue to focus on commonsense solutions to improve education, protect access to affordable health care, and changing the way Washington works for Oklahomans."