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Harris in Oklahoma GOP runoff for NASA chief’s ex-House seat

June 27, 2018
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Tim Harris, right, a candidate for U.S. Rep. District 1, hugs a supporter during his primary election watch party at El Guapo's Southside restaurant, in Tulsa, Okla., on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (Matt Barnard/Tulsa World via AP)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Former Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris advanced to a Republican runoff Tuesday in a crowded race to fill the Oklahoma congressional seat vacated by a GOP congressman who left the post to become administrator of NASA.

Harris was one of five GOP candidates in the race for the 1st Congressional District seat. It has been vacant since April when former U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine resigned to accept President Donald Trump’s nomination to lead the space agency. Bridenstine was elected to the seat in 2012 and served on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

The race for second place was too close to call. Businessman Kevin Hern had a slight lead over Iraq War veteran Andy Coleman as votes continued to come in Tuesday night.

The top two vote getters will meet each other in a runoff election on Aug. 28. The winner will meet the winner of a five-candidate Democratic primary in the general election on Nov. 6.

In Oklahoma’s four other congressional districts, incumbent Republicans Reps. Tom Cole and Steve Russell won re-nomination, Rep. Markwayne Mullin was a heavy favorite to again be nominated, and Rep. Frank Lucas ran unopposed for the nomination.

Democrat Kendra Horn led a crowded field of Democrats seeking that party’s nomination for the 5th Congressional District, which includes downtown Oklahoma City, but she must face Tom Guild in a runoff to win the nomination.

The revitalized core of the state’s capital city has drawn a growing population of young professionals and retirees seeking a more urban lifestyle.

It has been more than 40 years since a Democrat represented the district.

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Associated Press writer Tim Talley contributed to this report.

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