Saturday, September 10, 2016

Muskogee County: trouble for Democrats, optimism for GOP



While Muskogee County tilts heavily Democratic in voter registration, campaign finance records show the local Democratic Party and their legislative candidates in deep trouble, while the Republican Party is on solid ground and set to make big gains.

As of April 2016, Democrats beat Republicans in Muskogee County voter registration 58.17%  to 28.98% -- a difference of 29.19%. While still a big lead, that's a far cry from 2006, when Democrats comprised 67.4% and Republicans were at 22.26% -- a difference of 45.14%. The Democratic decline has been less steep in Muskogee County than, say, Bryan County, but it's very real nonetheless.

In 2006, Republicans won House District 14 for the first time ever, and in 2014 Republicans won their first-ever County Commission seat. This election could set records for the Muskogee County Republicans. Let's look at some campaign finance figures.

House District 14 - Republican-held since 2006 (map)
Rep. George Faught (R) has raised $14,850.00 this cycle, and has $46,009.10 on hand. His Democratic challenger Lee Ann Langston has raised just $1,200.00 and has a pitiful $550.00 on hand.

House District 13 - open Democrat-held seat (map)
Victorious in a three-way primary, Republican Avery Frix has raised a total of $55,858.16 so far, and has $10,656.55 on hand. Democrat candidate Wayne Herriman raised $10,415.00 and has $5,000.21 on hand. Republicans held this seat from 2000 to 2004, but until this election failed to field any more serious candidates.

Senate District 9 - open Democratic-held seat (map)
Winner of a competitive primary contest, Republican Dewayne Pemberton has raised $38,255.00 and has $11,116.92 on hand. Meanwhile, Democrat Jack Reavis has raised $12,632.34 and has a mere $849.87 on hand. To my knowledge, no Republican has ever held this seat.

Looking at County Party structure is even more dramatic. The Muskogee County Republican Party raised $17,746.00 from January 1st through June 30th, and has $23,266.32 cash-on-hand with which to assist their candidates and promote the party. The Muskogee County Democratic Party hasn't filed an ethics report since July 2015, but at that point they had only raised $357.06 on the year and had $488.51 in the bank.

This is looking to be a great year for the Muskogee County Republicans.

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