Keating says his motive in redistricting was to elect more Republicans

Tuesday, June 4th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ Gov. Frank Keating, who's known for making off-hand remarks, said Tuesday his motive in redrawing congressional districts was to get more Republicans elected to Congress.

The Republican governor was asked about his redistricting goals by an audience member during a Tulsa Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

``My key factor was to elect Republicans,'' Keating said, triggering loud laughter from the crowd.

Keating laughed too, but offered no further answer, and the moderator moved onto other questions.

When the governor offered the map in January he said it would protect the state's incumbent congressmen whose seniority would be critical as Oklahoma's delegation is reduced by one member.

The state is losing one of its six congressmen because its population did not grow as fast as other states during the 1990s. Five of the state's sitting congressman are Republicans and one is a Democrat.

A state district judge last week imposed Keating's redistricting plan, which is favored by the Republican incumbents. The judge said Keating's plan splits fewer communities than other proposals.

Democrats have said Keating's map makes it harder for Democrats to win elections.

Keating's plan divides Oklahoma County between two congressional districts but puts about 85 percent of the county's population in a single district.

The plan also retains all of Tulsa County in a single district and places the state's two largest military bases, Tinker Air Force Base and Fort Sill, in a single district.