The Slatest

One of the Most Surprising Democrat Wins on Tuesday Came From a Deep-Red District in Oklahoma

A line of voters cast their votes
Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

In one of the most surprising House seats flipped by Democrats on Tuesday, Kendra Horn, considered a long shot in deep-red Oklahoma, defeated incumbent Rep. Steve Russell to become the state’s only Democrat in Congress.

The win appears particularly surprising when you look at Donald Trump’s performance in her district in 2016: The president won there by almost 14 percentage points. National Democrats paid little attention to Horn’s district.

According to HuffPost, local Democrats were more optimistic about Horn’s chances, as the state’s Republican leaders had become unpopular. The statewide teacher strike that occurred as part of the national wave of teacher strikes was also thought to possibly harm Republicans in the polls as well.


Horn herself appeared to have been surprised by her success, at least judging by her Twitter account. Here’s her only tweet from the night, sent out around 11 p.m.:


In 2016, Russell had won the seat by more than 20 percentage points. But Horn outraised Russell, and a PAC funded by Michael Bloomberg spent $40,000 on ads for Horn just before the election.

Horn has worked as an attorney and political consultant, and she has experience working on several other campaigns. She will be the only Democrat of the state’s seven-member congressional delegation.