The typical hand-wringing and finger-pointing of any political upset is once again upon us, in the wake of the Senate District 37 special election.
But rather than blaming people or ideas, I want to point out a big factor that was made long ago, when the census of 2010 was followed by the gerrymandering of 2011.
Gov. Frank Keating played a big role in helping Dan Newberry eventually win the seat from traditional Democrat control. the district lines were moved so that the heavily Republican areas of south Tulsa & Bixby were included. That shifted the scales to counteract the traditionally Democrat west Tulsa & Sand Springs.
In 2011, Gov. Fallin moved the map back to the west and recreated SD33 to a Broken Arrow district, instead of central Tulsa. That allowed Nathan Dahm to take a seat away from a historically Democrat base.
Newberry got into office in 2008. He initially won the seat when Keatings lines were more favorable. But when he lost that huge eastern portion (yellow area) and picked up more of west Tulsa (blue area), his seat became a battleground for the next 2 elections.
Newberry had the advantage of incumbency, and it helped him win. He also had a presidential ballot to share the election with.
But Brian had another problem. While Jenks school district is affluent and Republican, the school teachers of the district don't share that affluence. They live in Jenks proper, not the upscale east side of the river, in Gary Stanislawski's senate district. All of those teachers and school staff made O'Hara pay a price for what the Republicans are perceived as causing... low income for public school workers.
If you think this SD37 is tough on a Republican, now; imagine what the maps will look like if a Democrat becomes governor, in a year?