OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – New map drawing gives the 5th Congressional District more Republicans and less Democrat voters, and splits the southern part of Oklahoma City, sending it to the 3rd District.
2020 census data gave Republican legislatures an opportunity to redraw maps in the state of Oklahoma.
Every political map in the state deals with changes after a census year.
“We have to have the best possible equal distribution of the people in each jurisdiction. Meaning each Senate district, House district, county commissioner district, judicial district, congressional district,” said Doug Sanderson, Oklahoma County Election Board Secretary.
The focus is on the 5th Congressional District.
In 2018, Democrat Kendra Horn won the district. She only survived one term, losing to Republican Stephanie Bice in 2020.
Previously the GOP advantage in the 5th district was 7 points. Now that the map has been redrawn, it is 18 points.
From 2012-2020, the 5th district included all Oklahoma County besides Midwest City, Pottawatomie and Seminole counties.
For 2022-2031, the 5th district adds Lincoln County and the southern half of Logan County.
60 percent of the voters in Lincoln County are Republicans.
To add more favor to Republicans, the southern part of Oklahoma City is now part of the 3rd district – where Republican Frank Lucas has dominated for decades.
Alicia Andrews, Democrat Party Chair, said the results of the remapping presents a clear Republican agenda.
“By design, they carved out a section of voters that were more likely Democratic voters and they moved them into a different congressional district,” said Andrews.
GOP Chair A.J. Ferate disagrees with that assessment. He admits that the system favors the party in charge, and with a super-majority in the Oklahoma legislature, Republicans are unchallenged in their authority. But he said the decision to split Oklahoma City was about voter alignment.
“Certainly, the south part of Oklahoma City’s more Hispanic population really fits better with the Hispanic population of Congressional District 3 more than it might with the CD [Congressional District] 5 more regularly,” said Ferate.
Democrats are upset about the lack of competitiveness and advocate for a nonpartisan group to conduct the drawing of new maps.
“The game we play in our state is whatever legislative body, whatever party is in the majority in the legislature gets to drive the numbers,” said Andrews.
Ferate said that idea is problematic because if it can lead to an unaccountable group in charge.
“If I don’t like the decision that my legislator made, how he or she voted on redistricting, I can vote against them and hold them accountable based on that decision. I can’t do that with an independent board,” said the GOP Chair.