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 pmonies@opubco.com Published: May 19, 2011
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Once Gov. Mary Fallin receives Reynolds' Senate resignation letter, she will have 30 days to set a special election date to fill his seat under its current boundaries.

Alex Weintz, Fallin's spokesman, said no decision has been reached on a possible special election date.

Among those planning to run for the Senate District 43 seat was Rep. Paul Wesselhoft, R-Moore.

Wesselhoft raised almost $15,900 in January and early February before the legislative session began.

He also transferred another $9,988 from a previous campaign account, according to reports filed with the state Ethics Commission.

Wesselhoft already spent money on signs and campaign software.

However, the new boundaries for District 43 may dissuade Wesselhoft from seeking the seat in a special election and for a full Senate term in 2012.

Wesselhoft said Wednesday he's still considering his options.

Wesselhoft's house is now in Sen. Jonathan Nichols' District 15. Nichols is term-limited in 2012.

“I live almost in the middle of District 43, so I made the assumption that if they tweak the district, it's not going to affect me because I live in the middle of it,” Wesselhoft said. “If I'd lived on the border, I wouldn't have done anything until this thing was settled. I had no idea the entire district would move down to Duncan.”

District to change

Political observers said the redrawn Senate District 43 itself will see changes over the next decade.

“That's a suburban-to-rural district that will initially be dominated by Stephens County but it's going to shift over time,” said Keith Gaddie, a political-science professor at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. “McClain County is suburbanizing; votes and population are moving to northern McClain County.”

View interactive sliding maps of the old and new Oklahoma...

Online

Maps

View several interactive sliding maps

of the new state House and Senate districts.

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