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REP. SYNAR (D-OKLA.) IN TIGHT PRIMARY RACE: RUNOFF SCHEDULED

Executive Summary

REP. SYNAR (D-OKLA.) IN TIGHT PRIMARY RACE: RUNOFF SCHEDULED for Sept. 15 following inconclusive results in Oklahoma's Aug. 25 congressional primary. Synar, a seven-term representative from Oklahoma's second district, won the largest number of votes with 43% of votes cast in the Democratic primary, but the margin was too narrow to clinch a victory over leading competitor Drew Edmondson. A former district attorney for Muskogee County, Edmondson won 38% of the vote; two other candidates split the remaining votes. A member of the powerful House Energy & Commerce Committee, Synar has been an active participant in the Medicaid rebate debates. Synar drafted but never introduced legislation to replace the current "best price" formula for prices to Medicaid with fixed percentage rebates ("The Pink Sheet" May 25, T&G-3). While Synar moved away from drafting his own plan, he has continued to advocate the need for pricing reforms to industry groups and has indicated that he may support fixed percentage rebate legislation if other sponsors introduce it. Rep. Waxman (D-Calif.) has floated proposals in Congress to modify the Medicaid outpatient rebate program by switching to a fixed percentage rebate of 18.5% in FY 1996, increasing to 19% in 1997 ("The Pink Sheet" Aug. 17, p. 3) and other proposals before the Congress also have raised the notion of fixed rebates ("The Pink Sheet" Aug. 24, p. 3). As a member of the Judiciary subcommittee on intellectual property rights, Synar also sponsored the House patent extension bill for U.S. Bioscience's Ethyol ("The Pink Sheet" July 15, 1991, T&G-1). An Ethyol patent extension of three years was passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Aug. 12 ("The Pink Sheet" Aug. 17, p. 10). A House patent extension bill passed Aug. 4 does not include an extension for Ethyol. The issue must be referred to the full Senate. Also through the Judiciary Committee, Synar was involved in crafting product liability legislation in the late 1980s. Synar's reelection campaign apparently is encountering serious opposition from several large interest groups, including the tobacco, oil and banking industries, as well as the National Rifle Association and the cattlemen. Simply by virtue of his longevity, Synar also may be suffering from the wave of anti-incumbent sentiment affecting elections throughout the country.
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