Breaking down Oklahoma 5th Congressional District race

Breaking down Oklahoma 5th Congressional District race

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

The math, and history, doesn’t work out for any of the six 5th district candidates to walk away from the June 24th primary as the party’s nominee for congress. Political insiders say Republicans will most certainly head to the polls again for a runoff between the top two vote getters.

But who will head to a runoff election?

“The basis for a win can come from anywhere,” said OU Political Science professor Dr. Keith Gaddie.

Dr. Gaddie believes each candidate is relying on specific parts of their background to sway voters. But, as a whole, he told Fox 25 none of the candidates has the enough reach into the always important evangelical voter community.

“All these candidates have the potential to reach into that community, but none of them have the kind of network that James Lankford had coming out of Falls Creek.”

While he predicts the race to a runoff is far from decided, Dr. Gaddie would put State Senator Clark Jolley in one of the two spots.

“I think you've got Patrice Douglas leading the pack right now,” said political consultant Bobby Stem. Stem has donated to Douglas’ campaign, but says his firm has access to polling data that he believes puts Douglas in one of the runoff spots.

However both Gaddie and Stem believe Douglas and Jolley are competing for a similar voting block and it will likely result in one of them making the runoff and the other losing out entirely.

“I think that you're going to see, if I had to predict right now, you're going to see a Patrice Douglas and a [Steve] Russell runoff,” Stem told Fox 25.

Political insiders say just as Douglas and Jolley are competing for votes, so are Russell and first-term state representative Mike Turner.

“You have young man that has a very successful family and has some good business background versus soldier; a soldier that has led thousands of troops…that sells,” Stem said.

Turner’s campaign is financed almost exclusively by his own personal investment. Records from the Federal Election Commission show Turner has given his campaign more than $600,000 of his own money. Political watchers say it’s a bold move and only the primary votes will tell if it was worth the investment.

“Usually if you're only spending your own money you don't do well,” Dr. Gaddie told Fox 25, “We say OPM is better, other people's money is better, to spend than your own, and Mike Turner may be giving us the test on this.”

In recent weeks Turner’s campaign has launched a variety of ads critical of Russell’s voting record. Dr. Gaddie say those type of ‘negative’ ads can be effective when they compare records and avoid directly personal attacks. However Stem said the attack ads likely show Russell is in a position that threatens Turner’s ability to make a runoff.

None of the candidates have released any polling information to the public to say who’s ahead or who’s behind. Stem says polling data can sometimes show weaknesses in the campaign and likely the candidates who can afford polling are using that information to tailor ads to voters during the final days of the race.

“You only release polls when they help you solidify your lead or if it helps you with your fundraising,” Dr. Gaddie told Fox 25, “I imagine that everyone's polling is showing no one is sure who's going to be in this.”

The Republican and Democratic primary is June 24 and while a Republican candidate is highly favored to win the 5th district, Dr. Gaddie says voters shouldn’t rule out a spirited general election once both nominees are chosen.

We’ve profiled all the fifth district candidates so you can learn more about the campaigns for Clark Jolley, Patrice Douglas, Mike Turner, Harvey Sparks, Steve Russell and Shane Jett.

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