Two weeks out from the general election, Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Matt Pinnell says the GOP should maintain a majority in the Republican-controlled Legislature.
He said it's possible Republicans could pick up a few historically Democratic seats.
“We can't take anything for granted,” Pinnell said. “Just because (President Barack) Obama is very unpopular does not mean we're going to win all these races. Because of that we need to work hard and finish strong.”
One of the seats Pinnell said could go Republican is Senate District 3 in Adair County where Wayne Shaw, a Republican, and Jim Bynum, a Democrat, are trying to fill the seat vacated by Sen. Jim Wilson, D-Tahlequah, who could not seek re-election because of 12-year legislative term limits.
As of Thursday, voter registration figures from the state Election Board showed there are 23,000 registered Democrats in the district compared with about 15,000 registered Republicans.
Another Democratic stronghold is Senate District 7, where there are more than 33,000 registered Democrats compared with fewer than 9,000 registered Republicans.
But Pinnell said not to count out Larry Boggs who is running against J. Paul Lane, a Democrat, for that seat in southeastern Oklahoma.
He also said the race in Tulsa County for the seat held by Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre, D-Tulsa, could surprise some people. Senate District 11 has almost 26,000 registered Democrats compared with 5,500 registered Republicans.
“Those are competitive districts, but I think what we're trying to make sure is that Democrats know there's no safe Democratic seat,” Pinnell said. “We're going to compete for every one of these seats. I think we have the manpower, the financial resources and the wind at our backs to be competing in these seats.”
Republicans easily stole two Senate seats from Democrats in the primary election when Democratic incumbents chose not to seek re-election and no one from their party filed for the seats. They are the Senate District 33 seat held by Democratic Sen. Tom Adelson, of Tulsa, and the Senate District 17 seat held by Sen. Charlie Laster, of Shawnee. The Senate District 17 seat has been historically held by Democrats, including former Gov. Brad Henry who held the post when he was elected governor in 2002.
In the House, Republicans, who had a 67-31 advantage when this year's session adjourned in late May, have a 47-20 majority for the next legislation session, which will include 2013 and 2014. The 34 other seats will be filled in the Nov. 6 general election.
Republicans have their best shot of claiming the House District 20 seat, which has been held by a Democrat since the district was created nearly 50 years ago.
The district has been moved from heavily Democratic southern Oklahoma north to an area that covers parts of Cleveland, Garvin, McClain and Pottawatomie counties. The district formerly covered Atoka County and parts of Bryan, Coal, Johnston and Pontotoc counties, where Democrats last year outnumbered Republicans nearly five to one; 14,574 Democrats compared with 3,299 Republicans and 1,302 independents.
The new District 20, which takes effect Nov. 14 after legislators are sworn into office, has more Republicans. Voting registration records as of Thursday showed 8,596 Republicans compared with 8,362 Democrats, 2,336 independents and one Americans Elect Party member.
Rep. Paul Roan, D-Tishomingo, cannot seek re-election because of 12-year legislative term limits. House District 20 has been Democratic since 1965, when members of the House began being elected by district instead of by county.
A growing population in the Norman area and declining numbers of people in rural areas led to lawmakers last year shifting House District 20 from southern Oklahoma as part of their redistricting plan. Lawmakers must redraw legislative districts to reflect the state's population every 10 years using the latest census.
Bobby Cleveland, a Republican from Slaughterville, and Matt Branstetter, a Democrat from Noble, are vying for the seat, which takes in southeastern Norman, most of the Noble School District, Slaughterville and Lexington.
Republicans also are optimistic about their chances in House District 60. Redistricting has moved the mostly Democratic district from Beckham, Harmon and Roger Mills counties and parts of Ellis and Greer counties in western Oklahoma to parts of Caddo and Canadian counties.
Democrats outnumbered Republicans nearly 2-1 in the old district: 11,170 Democrats compared with 5,947 Republicans and 1,644 independents.
The new district has more Republicans. Voter registration records as of Thursday showed 8,963 Republicans, 7,926 Democrats and 1,979 independents.
Dan Fischer, of El Reno, who describes himself as a social conservative, won the Republican nomination for the House District 60 seat, which takes in much of the west Oklahoma City metro area. Kendra Menz-Kimble, of Hinton, is the Democratic candidate, who didn't have an opponent in the June 26 primary.