House panel approves Senate redistricting plan

But the Senate receives criticism for its decision to hire a consultant.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: May 13, 2011
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Unlike the House plan, in which no incumbent was pitted against another, the Senate plan forces two incumbent Democrats into districts with two incumbent Republicans.

Sen. Tom Adelson, D-Tulsa, plans to run against Sen. Brian Crain, R- Tulsa. The western Oklahoma district of Sen. Tom Ivester, D-Elk City, was moved east to include the residence of Sen. Rob Johnson, R- Kingfisher. But Johnson is planning to move into his new district northwest of Oklahoma City and not oppose Ivester.

Split counties reduced

Lexa Shafer, a Senate staffer who worked on redistricting, told the committee that the number of split counties was reduced from 30 to 27.

Rep. Eric Proctor, D-Tulsa, earlier on the House floor Thursday, criticized the Senate process but complimented GOP House leaders for the open and bipartisan process to redraw the House districts.

“The speaker of the House is to be commended on doing it correctly and doing it openly,” he said. “The state Senate could not have done it any more opposite than everything I just said. ... We did it the right way. They did it the wrong way.”

Rep. Mike Shelton, D-Oklahoma City, who often spats with House Republican leadership and members over legislation, also was complimentary of how House Republicans dealt with redistricting.

“It does mean a lot when we can all sit down and work out something,” he said. “I would advise the House members to possibly ask the Senate to use us as their mentors and they can just talk to each other to work out their differences. We do not need to go spend $150,000 on some professional.”

New Senate District Maps


ONLINE

SENATE MAPS

To view the new Senate districts, go to www.oksenate.gov/index.aspx and click on “Senators” on the top of the page. On the drop-down menu, click on “District Maps” and then click on “New Senate District Maps (2011).” Several maps are available to view by clicking on their title. They include a statewide map and maps of proposed Senate districts in Canadian, Cleveland, Oklahoma and Tulsa counties.

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