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Democrats call for independent redistricting commission in Oklahoma, offer their own congressional map

Standing in front of Democrats' and Republicans' proposed congressional redistricting maps, state Rep. José Cruz speaks at a news conference about Democrats' plan.
State Rep. José Cruz speaks at a news conference Monday about Democrats' redistricting proposal.

Democrats in the state legislature are proposing their own Congressional redistricting map, one that would mainly preserve Oklahoma City as its own district.

Rep. José Cruz’s state House district and its large Hispanic population is among the south Oklahoma City communities being moved from the Fifth District into the mostly rural Third District, represented by Congressman Frank Lucas. Meanwhile, areas being brought into the Fifth District are largely conservative, giving Republican candidates an edge in what’s been a competitive area.

"The people that drew these maps behind closed doors looked at Oklahoma city and asked, 'What community lacks the political power and acumen to oppose such an egregious move?' and they chose mine. This is a textbook case of gerrymandering," Cruz said.

Republican House and Senate leaders put out a statement Monday, criticizing Democrats' proposal for moving some communities around military installations to different districts and dismissing the nonprofit that drew the map, People Not Politicians, as a “secretive group, likely funded by dark money.”

The organization responded in a statement they tweeted.

"What I would ask the GOP is where did their map come from? Because we saw one that was pretty similar in the public map submission process submitted by a GOP operative, and that's what you see here," said House Minority Leader Emily Virgin.

Democrats have also put forward a proposed ballot measure to establish an independent redistricting commission going forward. Their legislation is unlikely to advance in the heavily Republican legislature.