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Looking For a New Representative in CD5

Steve Russell (left) and Al McAffrey (right)

Starting tomorrow during early voting, Oklahomans in Congressional District Five are deciding on their fourth Congressman in eight years.

The Democrat and Republican in the general election are each veterans and small businessmen who served in the State Senate.

Former State Senator Steve Russell is meeting with constituents at his headquarters in Oklahoma City.

Russell retired from the U-S Army as a Lieutenant Colonel and even wrote a book about his experiences called, “We Got Him: A Memoir of the Hunt and Capture of Saddam Hussein.”

In 2008, Russell ran for state Senate in southwest Oklahoma City and served for four years.

At the end of the four years, he chose not to seek reelection.

“When Simon and Schuster announced in December of 2011 that they were going to release my book, I had to make a decision. Did I want to run for reelection at that point, because the reelection season was coming up or did I want to just finish my term?”

Then Congressional District Five became an open seat with James Lankford choosing to run for US Senate.

Now an owner of a small manufacturing business called Two Rivers Arms, he says he wanted to run because he still believes in putting country first.

“State of affairs politically today, not that we haven’t had this in the past, but it’s almost like politics has become America’s favorite shooting sport. We trash politicians. We trash the political process. We are angered at the abuses in Government. That has to stop.”

Russell won the Republican primary through a field of five other opponents even needing a runoff in August to secure the nomination.

Now he faces a Democratic opponent, he says supports big government.

“This notion that the government has to solve every problem we have clearly divides us. I think that the American people can solve the problems if given the opportunity. I’d like to see the government get out of our way, not the government solve our problems.”

Democratic candidate Al McAffrey says he worries talk of making a smaller government means cutting valuable services.

He says there are places the government specializes in particular creating a strong military which McAffrey supports.

“I believe that we should be able to protect our country and the citizens of our country, but we always have to be prepared for the things that we have never experienced because fighting wars is not world war two anymore.”

McAffrey started the race with two other Democratic opponents and also won the nomination during a runoff in August.

He spent eight years in the state House and Senate from northwest Oklahoma City.

The owner of OK Cremation and Mortuary Services says government can be more efficient when it comes to getting services to its people.

“I don’t understand if you can get a car loan in 30 seconds, why a veteran has to wait years sometimes to get their services? And those are some things I don’t understand. So, I believe we should use new technology to reduce our deficit which will also get rid of fraud.”

While Russell accuses him of following the agenda of the national Democrats, McAffrey says he plans to put the needs of Oklahomans first.

“I listen to the caucus, but I’m an independent person. I believe if it does not benefit Oklahoma, I am not going to vote for it, and I will be glad to tell the caucus that. If I feel I can do it and it’s going to help Oklahoma and CD5 I’m going to be right there with them.”

Congressional District Five includes all of Pottawatomie and Seminole Counties and nearly all of Oklahoma County except for the Tinker Air Force Base area.

Early voting at county election board sites runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday with the general election on Tuesday.

Tonight, we are holding a candidate forum to discuss the race in Congressional District 5 and any other races you want to talk about at Picasso’s Café in Oklahoma City, starting at 6 p.m.

Michael Cross is the host of KOSU's Morning Edition.
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