Tulsa Election 2011: Redistricting impact in Districts 3, 4, & 5

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Redistricting appears to played a key role in the Cockroach Caucus strategy to regain control of the City Council, according to a BatesLine analysis of Tuesday's primary results by precinct.

The 2011 redistricting was the most radical since the City Council was established in 1989. Over 20% of the city's precincts were shifted from one district to another. In precincts that stayed in the same district, the barrage of negative press describing the council as "bickering" and "fighting" would be offset by a voter's positive personal interactions with the incumbent as someone who addressed issues important to them or their neighborhood. But in the shifted precincts, residents would not have any connection with the incumbent councilor, and the negative press would hit full force.

The man behind the new map was political consultant Karl Ahlgren, who had been hired by the Tulsa Metro Chamber to advise them on redistricting. Ahlgren was Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr's campaign consultant. Bartlett's appointee on the redistricting commission, Daryl Woodard, acknowledged discussing redistricting with Ahlgren and later endorsed the candidate slate created by Ben Latham and Burt Holmes; the slate's Republican candidates were Ahlgren clients. According to some candidates who were approached by Ahlgren, Latham and Holmes did not make endorsements in districts where Ahlgren didn't have a client lined up and did not interview prospective candidates who rejected Ahlgren's advances.

A telling detail of the purpose of redistricting: District 2 boundaries were changed in the original version of the final proposal, moving precincts around Southern Hills and ORU from District 2 to District 9. After incumbent Councilor Rick Westcott announced that he would not seek re-election, the precincts were moved back to District 2 at District 9 Councilor G. T. Bynum's request.

The new district lines also put incumbent District 7 councilor into District 9.

In the District 3 Democratic primary, incumbent Roscoe Turner would have won re-election had the old boundaries been in force. Redistricting removed four high-voting precincts (7, 8, and 10, plus one nearly-empty precinct, 22) in which Turner typically received over 80% of the vote in head-to-head match-ups with Patrick. Turner received 88% of the vote in those precincts in the 2006 Democratic primary, 91% of the vote in the 2008 general election.

Redistricting added four precincts in northeast Tulsa, previously in Districts 5 and 6. Historically, precincts with a higher minority population, mainly west of Yale, supported Turner, while precincts with a higher white population, mainly east of Yale, supported Patrick.

Precincts remaining in District 3:

Patrick 561
Turner 399

Precincts added to District 3:

Patrick 144
Turner 66

Precincts moved from 3 to 1:

337 votes cast. Assume 80% for Turner:

Patrick 67
Turner 270

Adding the totals in the precincts remaining in District 3 to the likely vote for Turner in the precincts that were shifted to District 1, the total would have been:

Patrick 628
Turner 669

In all likelihood, precincts 7, 8, and 10 would have turned out more strongly for Turner in a closely contested race than they did in the District 1 primary, considered an easy win for incumbent Jack Henderson.

In the District 4 Democratic primary, incumbent Maria Barnes beat challenger Ken Brune in the precincts that had remained in District 4, but lost to him by a wide margin in wealthy Money Belt precincts that were previously in District 9. Barnes also won the single precinct (147) that was moved back into District 4 after a decade in District 1. 147 is just west of downtown and includes the Crosbie Heights and Owen Park neighborhoods.

Precincts remaining in 4:

Barnes 660
Brune 614

Precincts moved from 9 to 4:

Barnes 140
Brune 341

Precincts moved from 1 to 4:

Barnes 38
Brune 29

Six District 4 precincts east of Yale were moved to District 5. Barnes won those precincts by wide margins in the 2008 and 2009 Democratic primaries.

In the District 5 Republican primary, former incumbent Sam Roop had a large plurality of the vote in those precincts that had previously been in District 5, while Karen Gilbert won by a wide margin in precincts new to the district.

Precincts remaining in 5:

Roop 610
Gilbert 478
Trail 247

Precincts moved from 4 to 5:

Roop 108
Gilbert 233
Trail 124

Precincts moved from 7 to 5 (includes Gilbert's home precinct):

Roop 50
Gilbert 118
Trail 35

In the District 6 Republican primary, redistricting doesn't seem to have made a conclusive difference. Incumbent Jim Mautino lost to Skip Steele by 299 to 478 in precincts remaining in the district and by 36 to 72 in precincts moved to the district from District 5. Only 151 people voted in the District 3 GOP primary in the four precincts moved from District 6. In the 2009 primary (which was also a mayoral primary), Mautino won those precincts by a vote of 172 to 59 over Tadd Weese. Even that margin would not have been enough to overcome Steele's lead in the precincts remaining in District 6.

Two precincts were moved from District 6 to District 7. In 2009, these small precincts split evenly between Mautino and Weese, 14 votes each.

Here is a link to all the results by precinct, transcribed by me into a Google spreadsheet:

Tulsa Election 2011 primary results: Google spreadsheet

MORE: In the comments, Bob has an interesting notion about the origins of the "bickering" meme and why it went unchallenged in mass media:

I figured out pretty early in his term that Mayor Dewey, Jr. was following someone's script to pick fights with the city council when there was no need for a fight.

I wondered WHY, then realized it was part of a strategy that provided the pretext for the long-term voter softening up propaganda by the Lorton's World about city council "bickering" and "fighting".

Was Dewey's script fashioned by the Metro Tulsa Chamber of Commerce political consultant Karl Alhgren?

It was a much repeated theme over the past year.

Unfortunately, KFAQ Pat Campbell didn't provide any balance to the Lorton's World persistent city council "bickering" theme, with Pat's nose assuming a browner and browner shade from taking up permanent residency in Dewey, Jr.'s backside.

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4 Comments

Bob said:

Excellent analysis, Michael.

I suspected that the gerrymandering of the Tulsa City Council districts was an intended mischief to uniformly hurt the incumbents, who except for Bynum were united against Mayor Dewey, Jr.

Now,you have provided the analysis to prove it.

It was pretty obvious by the amount of votes that incumbent Roscoe Turner lost by that something major happened to his voter base. Your analysis showed that key precincts were cleverly moved from Roscoe's to Henderson's District #1 where they would make no difference.

I figured out pretty early in his term that Mayor Dewey, Jr. was following someone's script to pick fights with the city council when there was no need for a fight.

I wondered WHY, then realized it was part of a strategy that provided the pretext for the long-term voter softening up propaganda by the Lorton's World about city council "bickering" and "fighting".

Was Dewey's script fashioned by the Metro Tulsa Chamber of Commerce political consultant Karl Alhgren?

It was a much repeated theme over the past year.

Unfortunately, KFAQ Pat Campbell didn't provide any balance to the Lorton's World persistent city council "bickering" theme, with Pat's nose assuming a browner and browner shade from taking up permanent residency in Dewey, Jr.'s backside.

There is a silver-lining in this local political dark cloud: King Kaiser's machinations to manipulate the membership of the Tulsa City Council to maintain Bank of Kaiser's sole-sourced, no-bid financial relationship with the City of Tulsa may become highly radioactive for all concerned.

This probability will increase as more and more details erupt of the $525 million in taxpayer money given to corporate crony capitalism favorite King Kaiser's Solyndra.

Is Solyndra the only dirty deal King Kaiser helped deal to taxpayers?

With the FBI and the U.S. Dept. of Justice digging through the corporate records, is King Kaiser too rich, regal and powerful to escape a future perp walk in chains and an orange jumpsuit?

Solyndra is probably the tip of the corporate cronyism iceberg....

Anonymous said:

You should sue the TW for plagiarizing your story. They posted on their website at 3:14 pm (two hours after you) a story about Roscoe and David.

I suspect we were working on it in parallel.

The A Team said:

Calling it redistricting isn't an accurate description of what took place. The title of this post should be changed to gerrymandering, instead of redistricting, to accurately reflect what really took place.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on September 17, 2011 1:17 PM.

Strong Mayor vs. City Manager debate, tonight was the previous entry in this blog.

Tulsa District 4: Blake Ewing on historic preservation and infill is the next entry in this blog.

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