OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – According to numbers from the Oklahoma State Election Board, 2,042 Oklahoma Republicans have changed their political party affiliation since the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
According to numbers from the Oklahoma State Election Board, from January 7th to January 27th, the day after the deadly riots at the U.S. Capitol, 2,042 Oklahoma Republicans have changed their political party affiliation.
The numbers show 115 Republicans switching to the Libertarian Party, 370 Republicans switching to the Democratic Party and 1,557 of them moving Independent.
“It doesn’t surprise me. What surprises me is that the number is so low,” Alicia Andrews, chair of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, said. “I think it’s building momentum. I do think that decent Americans don’t want to be associated with that behavior.”
“This is a time where they’re considering their options,” Chris Powell with the Oklahoma Libertarian Party said.
The Oklahoma State Election Board sent News 4 the following statement:
“We have not seen any unusual activity. It’s common to see more activity in the months prior to and just after a large election, particularly a presidential election.”Misha Mohr, Public Information Officer for the Oklahoma State Election Board
“It looks like the majority of those that switched away from the Republican party, went to the Independent party,” Steve Curry, National Committeeman for the Oklahoma GOP, told News 4. “My guess would be some of them have moved to Independent, mainly because they’re disappointed that the Republicans actually didn’t fight hard enough for President Trump.”
When News 4 posted the numbers on Twitter on Wednesday, Oklahoman Jake Woods wrote, “I was one of them. The Republican Party has changed dramatically for the worse in the last four years. That or I’m a fool and they’ve always been this hateful and Trump encouraged them to come out of the white supremicist closet.”
Oklahoma isn’t alone. Arizona Senator Jeff Flake wrote on Twitter Tuesday night, “As of today, 9,944 Arizona Republicans have changed their party registration since the assault on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. Please, fellow Republicans, we cannot continue to excuse former President Trump’s behavior and promote falsehoods about the election”.
“It was an unfortunate incident. I think all of us in political science, there were many people who saw this coming, or at least saw instances of political violence and also some anti-democratic ideas sort of expressed through these types of riots that happened at the Capitol,” Allyson Shortle, political science professor at OU, told News 4.
While it’s hard to know for sure the reason for the shift, Shortle pointed out the timing.
“We do expect to see a drop off the Republican party registration numbers after any sort of election, but the timing is pretty interesting. So you have to think of who out of those Republicans are really disheartened by what went on during the Capitol riots,” she said. “I’d say that, at least a portion we’d have to say were embarrassed about how, perhaps, the party might have been involved in that sort of rioting that went on that day.”