by Patrick B. McGuigan
From a crowded start – three Democrats and six Republicans – four candidate remain in contention to take the Fifth District Congressional seat now held by U.S. Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City.
On the Democratic side, Emeritus Professor Tom Guild will meet state Sen. Al McAffrey, D-Oklahoma City, in the August 26 runoff.
Guild forged a grass roots operation – knocking on thousands of doors, sending direct mail and communicating via the Internet and newspaper advertising – to race to 11,597 votes (42.1 percent of the total cast) in the June 24 primary.
Guild is making his third run for the job.
In 2010, the retired University of Central Oklahoma professor lost the primary to attorney Billy Coyle, who lost to Lankford in the general election. Two years ago, Guild, who also taught at Oklahoma City University, had the nomination unopposed. In the general election against the incumbent Republican, Lankford, Prof. Guild went on to gain the most raw votes of any Democrat in two decades.
State Sen. Al McAffrey gained 8,505 votes, or 30.9 percent of all those cast. McAffrey has served previously in the state House of Representatives, from District 88, and for the last two years in state Senate District 46.
Both Guild and McAffrey have been the focus of previous stories in The City Sentinel, and at the website CapitolBeatOK.com.
Third place in the Democratic primary went to Leona Leonard, a long-shot candidate who garnered 7,424 votes, or 27 percent of the total. All totals are final but unofficial.
Leading the Republican primary race for the seat was former state Sen. Steve Russell. While he gained 14,597 votes (26.6 percent of the GOP total), state Corporation Commissioner Patrice Douglas secured a spot in the runoff with a strong showing of 13,440 (24.5 percent).
Victors from each party in the August primary will face each other in the November general election. Three independents will also be on that ballot.