Charlie Meadows didn’t want to ruin Oklahoma’s Republican victories by talking about the presidential election. And no one among the 100 or so in attendance complained. Meadows, chairman of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee, welcomed Oklahoma’s GOP leaders in the state Senate and House to the group’s monthly luncheon meeting a day after Republicans captured the Senate for the first time in state history. No one brought up gains Democrats made in Congress or Democratic President-elect Barack Obama’s victory. They kept their focus instead on Oklahoma’s GOP legislative victories. When Oklahoma legislative members are sworn in Nov. 18, the Senate will have 26 Republicans and 22 Democrats. House Republicans, who took over the House in 2004 for the first time in more than 80 years, expanded their majority by picking up four seats in the 101-member chamber. Republicans will outnumber Democrats, 61 to 40. "This is truly a historic moment for the state of Oklahoma” House Speaker Chris Benge, R-Tulsa, told the group. "It has gone beyond my expectations.” When the House convenes in February, it will have the most Republicans ever, besting the 57 GOP members occupying the House since 2004 and the 55 Republican House members in 1921. Senate co-President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, said 15 Republicans were in the 48-member Senate when he was elected 10 years ago. The Republican Party has made steady gains in the Senate, he said. In the 1930s, no Republicans were in the Senate. Coffee and Benge said lawsuit reform would be a top issue for GOP legislators. And with having control of both chambers with the largest number of Republican members ever, both said they will have a Republican-backed plan before Democratic Gov. Brad Henry after legislators return next year. Both said they expect a measure will be brought up again in the upcoming session that would give tax credits for donations to help low-income students go to private schools. A similar measure was defeated this year. Some in the group asked the lawmakers to stop the practice of giving tax breaks or tax credits to private businesses. Benge said other states offer the incentives to businesses, and Oklahoma would be consistently out of the running in attracting businesses or getting existing businesses to expand in Oklahoma without being competitive. The group is one of the most conservative groups in the state and the most active. Members have met every week for 17 years except once, and that was when the meeting date fell on Christmas Day.
A look at how Oklahoman's voted in major races, broken down by county