WASHINGTON — Army veteran Steve Russell and Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Patrice Douglas headed for a runoff after finishing atop a crowded field in Tuesday’s Republican primary to replace U.S. Rep. James Lankford in the 5th District.
With all precincts reporting, Russell, of Oklahoma City, had 26.6 percent, and Douglas, of Edmond, had 24.5 percent. They will go head-to-head in the Aug. 26 runoff. State Sen. Clark Jolley, of Edmond, was third in the six-person field with 17 percent.
The 5th District includes most of Oklahoma County and Pottawatomie and Seminole counties. Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, left the seat open when he ran for the U.S. Senate this year; it was the third time since 2006 that the seat was open and crowded with Republican hopefuls.
The Democratic contest for Lankford’s seat will need a runoff. With all precincts counted, retired professor Tom Guild, of Edmond, had 42.1 percent and state Sen. Al McAffrey, of Oklahoma City, had 30.9 percent.
With similar talking points against the Affordable Care Act and federal government “overreach,” the Republicans running for the 5th District seat offered little distinguishing political philosophy, so they focused on their experience.
Douglas, 51, pitched her time as an attorney for the family’s sheet metal business to prove her familiarity and sympathy with the private sector.
Russell, 51, a retired U.S. Army Ranger whose unit in Iraq hunted down Saddam Hussein, talked about his military service and his term in the state Senate, where he authored legislation benefiting veterans. Russell raised about $200,000 and got $88,000 in help from an Iowa-based political action committee called America’s PAC that touts support for conservatives.
“Tonight’s victory is a clear message to Washington, D.C., Oklahomans expect and demand battle-tested leadership to set this country on the right course,” Russell said.
All three of the Oklahoma incumbent members of Congress facing primary challenges easily won their races on Tuesday.
In the 4th District, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, got more than 84 percent to beat Anna Flatt, of Ardmore, chairman of the Carter County Republican Party, whose challenge to Cole annoyed some in state party leadership. Cole is favored to cruise to re-election Nov. 4 against Democrat Bert Smith, of Moore, who beat Tae Si, of Norman, Tuesday.
Freshman Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Westville, defeated professional angler Darrel Robertson, capturing nearly 80 percent of the vote in the GOP primary in the 2nd District, which includes much of eastern Oklahoma. He is the general election favorite against Democrat Earl Everett, of Fort Gibson, who beat Joshua Harris-Till, of Tahlequah.
In the 3rd District, Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne, who has been in the U.S. House for 20 years, got nearly 83 percent of the vote to beat Robert Hubbard, of Yukon, and Timothy Ray Murray, of Oklahoma City, for the GOP nomination. He will be the heavy favorite against Democrat Frankie Robbins, of Medford.