With primary elections over, candidates are gearing up for an Aug. 26 runoff that will determine the lineup in several key races, including the Republican contest for the 5th Congressional District, where former Edmond mayor Patrice Douglas, a lawyer and banker, faces off against Steve Russell, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and former Oklahoma state senator.
In a field of six candidates, Russell finished first, with 26.6 percent of the vote, while Douglas was second, with 24.5 percent.
Douglas, 51, of Edmond, plans to stress her business and mayoral experience and Russell will continue to emphasize his long career in the military.
“I have a very strong business background and have been CEO of a city,” she said. “There are only 24 people in Congress who’ve had that honor of being a mayor of a city of any size.”
Russell, 51, of Oklahoma City, was in the Army for 21 years, including as an infantry commander.
“We have a lack of combat veterans in Congress,” Russell said. “There are only 17 in the U.S. House. That matters because we see some terrible decisions with domestic defense and the military around the globe. Look at the stories on the VA scandal, the Ukraine, Crimea, Iraq. All of these cause us a lot of concern.”
University of Oklahoma political science professor Keith Gaddie said the runoff election between Douglas and Russell is a toss-up.
“If you look at all runoffs for congress, 70 percent of the time the person who comes in first wins the runoff,” he said. “But women do a better job coming out of second place than men.
“They effectively tied in the primary election and barely combined for half the vote, so it’s a coin flip.”
The Democratic side of that runoff features retired college professor Tom Guild, 60, of Edmond, against State Sen. Al McAffrey, 66, of Oklahoma City. Guild had 42 percent of the vote in the primary, while McAffrey had 31 percent.
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