Friday, December 07, 2018

An 8-Year Extinction of the Little Dixie Democrat Legislator

In 2010, Oklahoma Democrats owned the southeast portion of the state, with total control of legislative seats in the "Little Dixie" area, generally south of I-40 and east of I-35.

With yesterday's announcement by State Rep. Johnny Tadlock (DR, Dist.1), there are now no legislative Democrats in the region south of Tahlequah and east of Norman.

No region of the state has been so lopsidedly dominated by one party throughout state history as Little Dixie. Yet, in a period of eight years, four elections, and one party switch, the Little Dixie Democrat legislator has now gone extinct (at least until the next election).

The 2010 election started a GOP landslide in Little Dixie, with victories in the Senate by Josh Brecheen, Mark Allen and Frank Simpson, and Dustin Roberts, Tommy Hardin and John Bennett in the House. Consecutive elections were marked by continued GOP pickups, culminating with this year's flip of four House seats in the very heart of Little Dixie.

Pre-election 2010 State House (62R-39D):

Current 2018 State House (77R-24D):

Pre-election 2010 State Senate (26R-22D):

Current 2018 State Senate (39R-9D):

Only 3 of 24 Democrat House members are from primarily rural districts, while all of their 9 Senate seats are mainly urban.

Following the 2018 election, which saw Democrats lose 7 rural seats including House Minority Leader Steve Kouplen, incoming House Minority Leader Emily Virgin made the following comment in an interview with NewsOK: "For Democrats going forward, we've got to figure out how to make sure that we are still talking to rural Oklahoma and letting them know we are the party for you when it comes to health care and keeping hospitals open."

Looks like that job got a little harder for Oklahoma Democrats.


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