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Local & Regional

Congressional redistricting map goes to governor's desk without any Democrats in support as legislature concludes special session

Statewide redistricting favored by Republicans
The new boundaries move portions of Oklahoma City with significant Hispanic populations into the rural Third District, replacing them with heavily conservative Logan County and part of Canadian County.

Oklahoma lawmakers’ redistricting work is done, and Democratic lawmakers are not pleased.

House Bill 1102, a congressional redistricting proposal they have opposed from the time it was unveiled almost three weeks ago has gone to the governor’s desk. With the southwest portion of Oklahoma City with its large Hispanic population moving from the Fifth District into the Third District, future GOP candidates will get a leg up in what’s been a competitive urban district.

Sen. George Young (D-Oklahoma City) was not convinced by his Republican colleagues’ claims population growth patterns in the 2020 census guided their decisions.

"These maps will for the next 10 years create an advantage for one particular political party. It seems to favor that one particular political party, and what I have heard today was it had to," Young said.

Republican redistricting leaders also insisted the new boundaries were drawn without regard to race. Sen. Michael Brooks (D-Oklahoma City) said that’s not good enough.

"So, if we're walking and we have our eyes closed or we're blindfolded but we run into a pole, then we've run into the pole no matter what. And so, just because we were blindfolded doesn't change the fact that we've encountered a disproportionate effect to a minority community with these maps," Brooks said.

Republican Senate Redistricting Chair Lonnie Paxton defended the new map.

"Seventy-seven counties, and we end up having discussion about one corner of one county. I would say that's a pretty successful map that we've submitted," Paxton said.

The final Senate vote on the bill was 36–10. Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow) joined all nine Democrats in the chamber in voting against it.

Gov. Stitt is expected to sign it.

The new congressional map did not get a single Democrat’s vote in the House or Senate. State House and Senate redistricting plans that also went to the governor did, however, get bipartisan support.