OKLAHOMA CITY – For the first time since 1922, Republicans will likely take control of the State House of Representatives after next Tuesday’s elections and gain an overall 6 seats, according to SoonerPoll.com.
The telephone polls were conducted in competitive house districts from October 26 through October 29. Each poll had a sample size of 300 likely voters, and had a margin of error of 5.5%.
House seats were divided into six columns from Solidly Democrat to Solidly Republican. Freshman lawmakers or vulnerable candidates were placed in two other columns for likely Democrats and likely Republicans, as well candidates running for open seats with high registration to their respective party. Candidates polling within the margin of error were placed in the remaining two columns of Leaning Democrat or Leaning Republican.
If Republicans do take the majority of the house, it will be tight. According to estimates, Democrats have a solid hold on 22, mostly incumbents, with 16 likely Democrat seats. About half of those that are likely to fall Democrat are open seats. Republicans have a solid hold on 25 seats, all incumbents but one. Twenty-one more are likely to go Republican, about half of which are incumbents.
Term limits and early retirements this year created the opportunities for the Republicans to run competitive races in districts where Democrat incumbents enjoyed re-election ease for years. Of the 17 competitive races, three are Democratic incumbents and the remainder is all open seats. Only two Republican seats were found to be vulnerable.
The Republican pick-up seats vary statewide, from western Oklahoma to urban Tulsa.
Republicans have never had a majority in the State House. The last time the Democrats lost control of the State House was when the Republicans and other fractious House members got behind Republican Speaker George B. Schwab of Nowata in 1921, according to OU Political Science Professor Keith Gaddie, editor of SoonerPolitics.com.