I hate to put too much pressure on her, but if there's going to be a Blue Wave in November, candidates like Kendra Horn are going to have to make a splash.
Currently, Horn is in a runoff election in Oklahoma's 5th Congressional District against Tom Guild. The two are facing off to determine a democratic nominee to take on republican incumbent congressman Steve Russell in November.
Horn narrowly missed winning the primary outright when she received more than 43 percent of the vote. Guild received only 18 percent of the vote, but with a crowded field of a half dozen candidates, the votes were split enough to keep Horn on the campaign trail all summer.
For a challenger, spending eight extra weeks traveling the district, making appearances and knocking on doors isn't a bad thing. You have to have a good volunteer base a lot of extra energy, but neither of those is an issue for Horn.
Before she threw her own hat in the ring, Horn ran Sally's List in Oklahoma finding and training female candidates for office. When the 5th District race came around, she found a good candidate by looking in the mirror.
Horn is originally from Chickasha - so you know she is smart. (Full disclosure, I was also born and raised in Chickasha. Until this week, I had never met Horn. Like all people who grew up five years apart in the same small town, we know all of the same people but never knew each other. We have 15 mutual friends on Facebook and a half dozen of them are Democrats from Shawnee.)
Horn is a Democrat from Oklahoma. If she survives the runoff and takes on a Republican candidate, I'm sure she will catch the typical "puppet of Nancy Pelosi" attacks and the same tired policy attacks, but they won't work if voters get to know her.
Like I said, Horn grew up in Chickasha. She's no anti-gun nut. She grew up shooting guns and is a fan of the second amendment. Does she agree with Russell that gun ownership is a God-given right? No. It's hard to find the verse where Jesus or even Moses guaranteed guns to God's chosen Americans. Some do some Biblical gymnastics to try to bend verses to get there - but it isn't really there.
Horn is a common sense candidate. She isn't interested in trying to talk about the few issues that divide people because her travels across the district have taught her that voters are worried about health care availability and affordability, education quality and rural economic development.
Horn is also not the typical democratic candidate that holds to the party line. She even said she was open to seeing new leadership in congress if the democrats do win majorities in congress.
"That is one of the reasons I am running," Horn said. "We need new leadership and new ideas. The way we have been doing things isn't the best way forward. We have to come together and work together to do the right thing for people of Oklahoma and the country."
I'm not sure if there will be a blue wave in November. I know a lot of normally safe seats are no longer safe. The republicans have lost ground locally and in Congress. But in other races, close calls kept GOP representatives in Congress. Close calls might be a moral victory, but a blue wave requires Democratic wins. Can a democrat win in Kansas or Oklahoma where the entire delegation is made up of republicans now?
If they can, Horn may be the one to do it. Russell has to see that Trump's winning total in his district was light compared to other areas of Oklahoma. Trump won the 5th by only 13 percent - compared to the 36 percent margin in the state as a whole. If the national trends are true in Oklahoma and voters have shifted by 10-12 percent away from President Trump and the republicans, that puts a target on Russell's office.
Horn thinks she is the candidate to hit that target.
In about 10 days, she will probably find herself in a real fight against a republican incumbent in Oklahoma. That's an uphill battle if there has ever been one.
If anyone can "flip the fifth" I think Horn can.
Pundits have already put a congressional race in Kansas in the "toss up" category. If Kansas and Oklahoma elect democrats to Congress, the blue wave will be a reality.