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Oklahoma redistricting: A resignation and new senate boundaries in Oklahoma, Cleveland counties have lawmakers studying options

A special election will be called later this year to fill an upcoming vacancy in Senate District 43. For the 2012 elections, that district will move south to McClain and Stephens counties.
BY PAUL MONIES Published: May 19, 2011

A special election will be held later this year for Senate District 43, which straddles Oklahoma and Cleveland counties, but will be swallowed up by five neighboring districts for the 2012 elections.

The change is a result of the Senate's redistricting plan, Senate Bill 821, which is on its way to Gov. Mary Fallin for approval.

District 43 Sen. Jim Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, won election as Cleveland County treasurer in November. His county term starts July 1.

Reynolds said Wednesday his attorneys are preparing a resignation letter from his Senate seat that would be effective the first week of July. State law prohibits holding more than one elected office.

Reynolds' District 43 was moved south to McClain, Garvin and Stephens counties under the Senate's new map. Under the plan, current District 43 constituents will be split among five GOP Senate districts in south Oklahoma County and north Cleveland County. Most of them will be in Republican Sen. Steve Russell's redrawn District 45.

Reynolds said he offered his district number to redistricting leaders so the new boundaries would cause the least disruption.

“My district was at one point up in Tulsa and then north Oklahoma City and as a new minority district, but it ended up in Duncan,” Reynolds said of the various plans to redraw the Senate map. “At the end of the day, it's special to me, but it's a number.”

The redrawn districts will be effective for the 2012 elections, when senators in odd-numbered districts will be elected. Those with even-numbered districts will be elected in 2014.

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