Republicans, Democrats trade seats in Oklahoma Legislature
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Republicans and Democrats traded a handful of seats in the state House and Senate in midterm elections, but the GOP maintained its commanding control of the Oklahoma Legislature for at least another two years.
Half of the seats in the 48-member Senate and all 101 seats in the state House were up for grabs in this year’s round of elections that concluded with Tuesday’s general election.
Preliminary results indicate Democrats picked up one new seat in the Senate, the first time Democrats have had a net gain of Senate seats during a regular election cycle since 1990. There are now 39 Republicans and nine Democrats in the Senate.
In the state House, Republicans gained three seats to expand their majority to 76-25. Three Democratic incumbents, including House Minority Leader Rep. Steve Kouplen of Beggs, Rep. Donnie Condit of McAlester and Rep. Karen Gaddis of Tulsa, were defeated in the general election.
Republicans have controlled both houses of the Oklahoma Legislature since 2008. Republicans gained control of the state House in 2004 for the first time since 1921 and took control of the Senate for the first time in state history in 2008 after being tied 24-24 following the 2006 election.
Only a handful of the nearly 50 teachers on the ballot were successful in their races for state legislative seats, after energized Oklahoma educators’ joined a springtime rebellion across red states including Kentucky, West Virginia and Arizona. But the Oklahoma Education Association says the number of lawmakers with classroom experience has nearly tripled — from nine to 25 — following this year’s elections, including 16 who were elected Tuesday.
The OEA said more educators are serving in the state Legislature than at any other time in state history following a statewide teacher walkout over teacher pay and classroom funding in April.