Oklahoma Republicans Pick Likely Successor to Bridenstine

Kevin Hern won the GOP primary runoff in the open 1st District

Former GOP Rep. Jim Bridenstine is now the NASA administrator. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Businessman Kevin Hern won the Republican primary runoff in Oklahoma’s 1st District on Tuesday, and is likely heading to Congress next year from the safe GOP seat.

The Tulsa-anchored seat opened after GOP Rep. Jim Bridenstine resigned in April to become NASA administrator.

With 78 percent of precincts reporting, Harris led former Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris 56 percent to 44 percent when The Associated Press called the race. The runoff was triggered after no candidate took more than 50 percent in the June primary. Hern finished second to Harris in the June primary with 23 percent.

President Donald Trump carried the 1st District by 29 points in 2016. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the general election Solid Republican.

Hern will face Democratic lawyer Tim Gilpin in November. With 74 percent of precincts reporting, Gilpin led energy consultant Amanda Douglas 59 percent to 41 percent when the AP called the Democratic primary.

There won’t be a special election to fill Bridenstine’s seat. The winner in November will also serve out the remainder of Bridenstine’s term through Jan. 3, and represent the district in the next Congress.

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