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Bice to challenge Horn for congressional seat

Republican state Sen. Stephanie Bice plans to run against U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn next year with a playbook built on tying the freshman Democrat to a “far-left socialist agenda.”

Bice, 45, of Oklahoma City, is set to announce her candidacy on Wednesday for the 5th District congressional seat that Horn won in an upset last year.

“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 a release prepared for the announcement.

“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 also said, “We can’t have a representative who answers to Nancy Pelosi and far-left socialist agenda.”

Bice was first elected to the Senate in 2014 and easily reelected last year. She is part of the Senate Republican leadership team and chairs the Finance Committee. She is probably best known as the architect of laws implementing the state question allowing wine and strong beer to be sold in grocery stores.

Horn, 42, of Oklahoma City, defeated two-term Republican Steve Russell last year, winning a district that had been carried in 2016 by Donald Trump.

Republicans almost immediately made the district a top target for 2020. Several prominent names have been mentioned, including that of former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, who ran unsuccessfully for the congressional seat in 2006.

Cornett, who lost the race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination last year, has not said whether he will run against Horn. He announced Tuesday that he had taken a job with an Oklahoma City public relations firm but did not respond to a question about his political plans.

Horn demonstrated last week that she has a strong base of financial support. Her campaign reported total receipts of $377,581 in the first quarter. That was the most campaign money collected in Oklahoma’s seven-member congressional delegation, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

The national Democratic Party is expected to help Horn in her reelection campaign.

Ward Curtin, spokesman for Horn's campaign, said Wednesday, "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."

Bice had nearly $100,000 in her campaign account at the end of 2018 but cannot use that money for a federal race.

Bice, a graduate of Oklahoma State University and Putnam City High School, worked for digital marketing companies after college. She and her husband, Geoffrey, have two daughters.

Bice has hired the Indiana-based consulting firm that ran the campaign last year for Republican Kevin Stitt, a political novice who beat several well-known candidates to become governor.

Bice’s state Senate district includes parts of Oklahoma City, Edmond, Deer Creek, Piedmont and Yukon. The 5th congressional district includes most of Oklahoma County and Pottawatomie and Seminole Counties.

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<strong>Bice</strong>

Bice

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-e62895ae17ba53820c54ee3956b3afdb.jpg" alt="Photo - Bice " title=" Bice "><figcaption> Bice </figcaption></figure>
Chris Casteel

Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. Casteel covered the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City. From 1990 through 2016, he was the... Read more ›

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