OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Republicans completed a takeover of Oklahoma politics Tuesday, capturing the state's five congressional seats and handing Mitt Romney seven electoral votes with a victory over Barack Obama in a contest where the biggest suspense was whether the president could carry any of the state's 77 counties.
Plumbing company owner Markwayne Mullin, a political neophyte from Westville, claimed for Republicans a U.S. House seat in eastern Oklahoma given up by retiring Rep. Dan Boren, a Democrat. Navy pilot Jim Bridenstine won a seat in Congress from the Tulsa area for the GOP.
With victories by incumbent Reps. Tom Cole, James Lankford and Frank Lucas, the GOP now controls all of Oklahoma's Washington delegation, all statewide offices and both chambers of the state Legislature.
"When we were the reddest state in the country four years ago, it certainly helped a lot of our down-ballot races as well," said Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Matt Pinnell, referring to 2008 when Republican nominee John McCain won every county in the state and captured 66 percent of the vote over Obama.
Romney's win in the state's general election was no surprise since a Democratic presidential candidate hasn't won in Oklahoma since Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Obama also performed poorly in the state's presidential primary this past March and received just 57 percent of the vote among Democrats in Oklahoma over four little-known candidates.
"Any Republican candidate that's running against Obama I like," said Roy Moore, a Muskogee stock broker who voted for the GOP nominee.
Republicans targeted the 2nd District seat as soon as Boren said last year that he wouldn't seek another term. Boren had seen his numbers drop in recent elections; the 26-county district that stretches from Kansas to Texas is traditionally Democratic, but has grown increasingly conservative.
Kenneth Crabtree, 52, a property manager from Muskogee, said he voted for Mullin to replace Boren, saying he liked that the GOP nominee was a small businessman and holds Christian values. He also voted for Romney because of the nation's recent economic woes.
"I've seen how the last four years have gone. Business is down and people are out of work," Crabtree said.