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Madison Horn carried her laptop to a desk in the corner of her Oklahoma City apartment as the Zoom video turned on. Just a day after filing to run for the US Senate as a Democrat, her home was now a mini campaign basecamp.
“I have a lot of plants and I have a cat named Cat,” she joked at one point, turning the camera around to show the space.
“I’m a normal person,” she said. “I’m going to talk with my hands, laugh and call you ‘dude’. I have a passion, and a youth and a story to tell that connects with people.”
Personable, earnest and witty, Madison is, in her own words, “a very different candidate”. And she believes Oklahomans are ready for a very different kind of Senator.
Madison’s decision to enter into a steep uphill battle to unseat Senator James Lankford was solidified on January 6, 2021. Then a cyber-security analyst living in Washington, D.C., Horn remembers the moment white supremacist mobs staged a violent insurrection at the US Capitol.
After a career spent protecting national security and tracking terror organizations, she was watching a politically-motivated attack on the homeland unfold.
Enraged but resolved, the Oklahoma native said she returned to the Sooner state, determined to make a difference for her country.
From Stillwell to the Senate
Madison grew up in the small town of Stillwell, Oklahoma. Like many, her childhood was marked by poverty, trauma and abuse.
According to a recent report, Oklahoma ranks near the bottom nationally for child wellbeing.
Oklahoma is a state rich in natural resources and philanthropies, but one in seven people still live in poverty. It’s a state that emphasizes hard work, but one in three working families still struggle to make ends meet.
Madison doesn’t just know these numbers, she’s survived them. And she believes the strength she built prepared her for the challenge of this Senate race.
“When people tell me ‘this race is gonna be hard’… and I say bring it on,” Madison said.
“You know why I’m not afraid of this? Because 13% of children who experience poverty, escape poverty. Six percent of children who experience poverty and experience abuse escape those types of situations,” she continued. “I’ve done both.”
“Not only have I done both, but I’m part of 1% of women who lead an executive team of more than 100 people across the globe.”
This, Madison Horn says, is part of why she’s running; to prove it’s possible and to spread hope.
“That is what gives people hope,” she says. “For people to know that, despite the fact that they came from a very hard situation – that there is a chance. And I’m standing in front of them and I’m a real person.”
“I want to inspire them with a life that they can connect to.”
Horn calls Lankford’s attempts to politicize Christianity “infuriating”
Madison Horn’s differences with Lankford stem from something deeper than policy differences.
As a constituent, Madison has tired of what she views as Lankford’s grandstanding.
“All the man talks about is immigration, abortion and crime rates,” she said. “And while those are important issues we need to discuss, he’s more focused on grandstanding than doing anything.”
While Lankford’s convictions seem tied to politics, Madison says voters will know for certain where she stands. “I’m very much ‘what you see is what you get’,” she said.
As a person of faith herself, Madison says she’s watched as Lankford has “used Christianity as a tool to mask his bad decisions”.
“He’s gone to an extreme in the way that he’s not looking at how policies ostracize and marginalize people,” she said of Lankford.
“That’s not Christianity, but he’s hiding behind it,” she continued. “To me, that’s infuriating.”
If elected, Madison says she will seek to work across the aisle to address some of the biggest issues facing Oklahoma.
While Lankford voted against the bi-partisan spending bill that will improve Oklahoma roads, bridges and broadband, Madison says she will push for more funding to modernize the state’s infrastructure.
And while Lankford, the chair of the Homeland Security Committee, voted against sending aid to Ukraine in its fight against Russia, Madison says she will push to strengthen America’s national security.
As a Senator, Madison Horn says she will focus on raising teacher wages and school funding. She will also push to give schools and teachers the resources to equip students for the careers of the future.
Candidate says her purpose in life ‘is to advocate for others’
Though Madison Horn’s path to the Senate is narrow and steep, she refuses to be deterred. This is about far more than a campaign; it is both a calling and a mission to build something better for the millions who call this state home.
“My purpose in this campaign and, honestly, in life, is to help others and to advocate for them,” Madison said.
“I want Oklahomans to know that there are people in positions of power that care about them.”
Click here to visit Madison Horn’s official US Senate campaign website.