Oklahoma delegation happy with Republican-led redistribution
With the decennial redistribution job of the Oklahoma legislature completed, but for Governor Stitt’s signature, members of the Oklahoma congressional delegation say they are more than happy with the redesigned lines of their districts.
The Republican-led effort culminated in a special session last week that saw the House and Senate easily approve new state and federal district maps, as needed after the release of new census data all ten years. Democrats criticized the process and particularly criticized the adjustments to the 5th Congressional District, which currently encompasses much of Oklahoma City and its growing Hispanic population.
Under the GOP proposal, much of southwest Oklahoma City – home to tens of thousands of Hispanic residents, who tend to vote Democratic – will be part of the 3rd Congressional District, while parts of the Strongly Republican counties of Canada, Logan and Lincoln will be added to the 5th arrondissement.
Democrats say the changes were clearly made to make the 5th arrondissement, currently owned by Representative Stéphanie Bice, less competitive. Republicans involved in the process say they did not use political, racial or ethnic data to draw the new lines.
“I’m looking at the map and it makes a lot of sense to me,” said rep Tom Cole (R-OK4), whose district changes little in the new setup.
Congressman Cole says he remembers the time, just 20 years ago, when Democrats controlled the Legislative Assembly and thus controlled the redistribution process.
“Count me skeptical about Democratic crocodile tears,” Cole said in an interview last week. “They drew much worse lines than these and they know it. They have shamelessly manipulated the state for decades.”