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New Congressional District 5 map will add Guthrie, Chandler while subtracting Plaza District, Oklahoma City's Southside

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New lines will turn Oklahoma’s Congressional District 5 from a purple district to a solidly Republican one.

Republican lawmakers have ensured the district that Democrats flipped in 2018 will be a solid GOP one for the next decade in their newly unveiled Congressional map.

Oklahoma City’s Plaza neighborhood and Southside will share Congressional District 3 with Guymon and Woodward rather than the rest of the city. Meanwhile, part of Logan and Lincoln Counties will be added to the district that includes the State Capitol and Midtown.

In the current map, District 5 encompasses most of the city, alongside Pottawatomie and Seminole Counties. In the new one, it will retain those rural counties and add rural Lincoln and part of Logan County, while shifting those more Democratic parts of South Oklahoma City into District 3.

The move will likely shore up CD 5 for Congresswoman Stephanie Bice and the Republican Party for the foreseeable future.

The maps drew outrage from Oklahoma's Democratic officials.

"It is clear from the proposed map released today, the goal was to draw gerrymandered congressional districts to protect incumbents from competitive elections," said Senate Democratic Leader Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, in a written statement.

Oklahoma’s Constitution mandates Legislators redraw legislative and congressional districts every decade. The legislators involved said the process relied on census data and town hall input from the last year to arrive at the map.

Republican lawmakers touted the map in a press conference on Monday. They pointed out that 87% of people in the state will remain in the same Congressional district, which many had called for during public comment sessions around the state.

As for the more than 180,000 — mostly Democratic — people moved out of CD-5 to CD-3, Edmond Republican state Representative Ryan Martinez says he’s aware the map might face legal challenges.

“But we feel very good about where we are,” he said. “We have complied with the Voting Rights Act. And we’ve followed all the criteria that we have had throughout this process.”

State legislative districts went mostly unchanged from the past, other than some tightening as suburban districts had to shrink as more people move toward cities and out of rural areas. No current lawmakers were displaced from their Senate or House seats by the new map, which already has many districts that lean solidly Republican.

The maps will ultimately be voted on by the full state legislature in a special session beginning Nov. 15.

Robby Korth joined StateImpact Oklahoma in October 2019, focusing on education reporting.
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