For any who may be reading this series for the first time: this is a thought experiment where I try to see what would happen if the size of the House of Representatives were doubled to 870 members from 435. And yes, I know Republicans have the trifecta. This entire series is theoretical to begin with, gimme a break.
Ohhhhhhhhhhhk! La-homa where the wind comes sweeping down the plain! And the waving wheat, it sure smells sweet when the wind comes right behind the raaaaaain!
Oklahoma is kind of an anomaly. It hasn't voted for a Democrat for President since LBJ's 1964 landslide, but since 1907 there have only been five Republican Governors (including the current one). Until 2010, there had been only one Republican Lieutenant Governor since 1907. Ditto Attorney General. For all but two years, Democrats controlled both house of the Legislature from 1907-2005. And yet it pretty much universally thought of as one of the most blood-red states in the Union. And they're right! But there is still a lot of local Dem strength throughout the state, even if that doesn't translate into wins at the federal level. I wanted to see how many Democratic districts I could draw under a Doubled House.
Also, compared to my other one-state diaries, Oklahoma is kind of light. So I threw in Alaska and Wyoming too.
Oklahoma gets 11 districts. The races included in the Dem/Rep average are:
- President 2004
- President 2008
- Governor 2006
- Lieutenant Governor 2006
- Attorney General 2006
VAP: 76.5 White, 10.2 Native
35.9 Obama, 53.4 Dem
Open; I combined the city of Normal, which is very Democratic at the local level, with the southeastern areas of the state, which are ancestrally Democratic. This district is a partial successor to Rep. Dan Boren's (D) district. A Democrat out of Norman or Durant could do well here. Lean D
VAP: 70.9 W, 6 Black, 13.8 N, 5.6 Other
35.3 Obama, 54.6 Dem
Open; McAlester and Muskogee. Another successor to Boren's district, it contains his home of Muskogee. Boren is retiring in 2012. Despite the continuing decline in performance by Democrats running for President, this is still a very Democratic area. Likely D
VAP: 61.1 W, 9.9 B, 17.2 N, 6.3 O
43.7 Obama, 57.8 Dem
Open; the last partial successor to Boren's district, this includes any remaining Native American areas and the northeastern part of the city of Tulsa. Likely D
VAP: 83.3 W, 5.3 N
27.3 Obama, 41.7 Dem
Open; Stillwater. Not much to say, Safe R
VAP: 81.8 W
21.3 Obama, 38.1 Dem
Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Cheyenne), the Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, lives here. The Panhandle and most of the western part of the state. Would be in contention for the highest R+ PVI in the country Safe R
VAP: 72.5 W, 8.3 B, 7.7 Hispanic, 6.8 N
32.1 Obama, 50.5 Dem
Open; SW Oklahoma. I'm particularly proud of this district. The Dem average gets a huge bump for containing the home base of former Lieutenant Governor Jari Askins (D), Duncan. It's also home to all four (count 'em, four) counties that Askins won when she was our nominee for Governor in 2010. She could win this district. No one else could. Likely D with Askins, Safe R without
VAP: 70.2 W, 7.4 B, 10.6 H, 5.4 N
37.7 Obama, 47.3 Dem
Rep. John Sullivan (R-Tulsa) lives here. The district is basically Tulsa. A tiny bit better for Obama than the current Tulsa-based OK-01, and probably much better for local Dems, but the district is Sullivan's until he retires. Maybe with party-building Dems could take it once that happens. Safe R
VAP: 79.4 W, 7.6 N
26.4 Obama, 39.1 Dem
Open; Tulsa Metro (Bartlesville and Broken Arrow). Ho Hum. Safe R
VAP: 49.5 W, 22.2 B, 18.7 H
55.7 Obama, 61.1 Dem
Plurality White. Rep. Jim Lankford (R) lives here. An Obama district in Oklahoma! This would not only elect a Democrat, but perhaps even a "good" Democrat! Rep. Lankford would move to District 9 if he wanted to survive. Safe D
VAP: 78 W, 6 H, 5.5 N
29.8 Obama, 42.8 Dem
Rep. Tom Cole (R-Moore) lives here; Outer OKC and Shawnee. Rep Cole would be just fine here; he gets safer, not that he needed it. Safe R
VAP: 77.7 W, 7.6 B, 6.4 H
30.2 Obama, 39.5 Dem
Open; Northern OKC suburbs, based in Edmond. As I said, Lankford would probably move here to avoid annihilation in the 7th and a primary in the 8th. But the primary here would be fierce as well. Safe R for whoever.
So, in an 11-district Oklahoma, there are amazingly 5 districts that are within reach for Democrats! Compared to the current 1-4 delegation, that's astonishing. This map is 5-6 if Jari Askins runs, 4-7 if she doesn't.
Alaska gets 2 districts.
VAP: 55.7 W, 5.3 H, 9.5 Asian, 21 N, 5.1 Other
In 2008, with Sarah Palin on the Republican ticket, Barack Obama only won two boroughs (Alaskan counties), the consolidated borough-Cities of Juneau and Yakutat. He also won 4 census areas, which are part of the vast Unorganized Borough. These census areas include the cities of Nome and Bethel. The blue district connects all of these areas, as well as all but one of the boroughs/census areas that Tony Knowles (D) won in the open-seat race for Governor in 2006. And further, the district goes downtown Anchorage and collects every minority-heavy precinct in the City. Without political data I can't be sure, but I think this district is about as Democratic as you can get in the state. Less than half of the district is in the City of Anchorage, so it would be a good chance for an outstate or even an Aleut Democrat to win. Rep. Don Young (R-Fort Yukon) lives here, but cut off from Wasilla and Eagle River, he'd lose, so he'll run in the 2nd. I'm going to be bullish and say Likely D
VAP: 81.1 W, 5.4 N
Conversely, this district would be many times more Republican than the state as a whole. With the exception of Fairbanks, every area in this district in represented by a Republican in the state legislature. Safe R
Alaska produces a 1-1 delegation.
Wyoming gets 2 districts.
VAP: 84.5 W, 9.8 H
Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Cheyenne) lives here; This grabs every blue precinct that exists in Wyoming, from Teton County to Cheyenne. And you know what that gets you? not even 40% Obama. Lummis is a relatively weak incumbent, so maybe she'd rather run in the redder 2nd, but she may be just fine unless Dave Freudenthal (whose home of Thermopolis is actually in the 2nd) ran or something. Likely R
VAP: 91.3 W, 5.2 H
Open; Casper, Gillette and Cody. Safe R, no matter who runs.
Wyoming goes from 0-1 to 0-2. Not everything to do with Doubling is a good thing unfortunately.
So, these three states' delegations would be 6-9, assuming Jari Askins runs for my OK-11, which brings the House of Representatives to 69-54-13.
Tell me what you think! Tip/rec and especially comment!