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GOP tries to lock down its hold on Oklahoma

Briefly competitive seat looks like a thing of the past

The Oklahoma district of GOP Rep. Stephanie Bice became more heavily Republican in redistricting.
The Oklahoma district of GOP Rep. Stephanie Bice became more heavily Republican in redistricting. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — With her victory in 2018, Democrat Kendra Horn spoiled the best-drawn plans of Oklahoma Republicans. But Republicans are working to make sure that doesn’t happen again in the latest round of redistricting. 

Oklahoma is a prime example of how partisan redistricting works. Parties draw new takeover opportunities to gain more seats or lock in the districts they already control.

Ten years ago, Oklahoma Republicans drew a near-perfect congressional map (from a partisan perspective) that elected only GOP members for nearly a decade, until Horn’s surprise victory. But Republican Stephanie Bice defeated Horn in 2020 and Republican cartographers are trying to make sure Democrats don’t win a seat for at least another 10 years.

[More House race ratings | Initial Senate race ratings]

Considering Republicans now control the entire five-seat Oklahoma delegation in the House, there aren’t any seats to be gained to help the GOP get back to the majority. The new map, however, with all five seats initially rated as Solid Republican, will make it more difficult for Democrats to count on a seat in Oklahoma as part of their majority anytime soon.

5th District (Stephanie Bice, R)

In 2020, Bice ran against Horn in an Oklahoma City-anchored district that has been trending toward Democrats. Mitt Romney won it by 18 points in 2012. Donald Trump won it by 13 points in 2016. And President Trump won it by 5 points in 2020, the same cycle Bice defeated Horn by 4 points.  

So Oklahoma Republicans, who were in charge of drawing the new congressional map, divided up Oklahoma County in order to dilute Democratic voters. That means Bice gets to run for reelection in a seat Trump would have won by a whopping 19 points, 58 percent to 39 percent. 

Democrats should have a credible nominee in former local TV news anchor Abby Broyles. But she would have lost the newly drawn 5th District by 16 points in her unsuccessful challenge to GOP Sen. Jim Inhofe in 2020. Initial rating: Solid Republican.

Races rated Solid Republican

Nathan L. Gonzales is an elections analyst for CQ Roll Call.

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