Oklahoma 5th District
Oklahoma City, like many state capitals, was not the spontaneous creation of commerce but the deliberate creation of government, sited in the geographic center of the state on what turned out to be oil land. Rigs were pumping crude on the grounds of the Capitol until 1989, and a derrick still stands sentinel outside the governor’s window. The land here is browner and more eroded by creeks than the rolling Oklahoma farmland farther east. From its center, Oklahoma City has grown far out into the countryside, and, as has happened in so many southwestern cities, its limits expanded so that the city now extends into four counties and three congressional districts, and covers 621 square miles. The capital captured worldwide attention in April 1995 when a bomb destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 people and injuring more than 500. The profound grief here was channeled into the construction of the Oklahoma City National Memorial on the site of the blast, movingly dedicated exactly five years later in April 2000. In 2006, fueled by the oil boom and sales tax revenues, the city moved to rebuild its downtown with condominiums, a baseball stadium, and a canal through the Bricktown area. The revival was set back by the closing of a General Motors assembly plant the same year. But overall, the area’s soaring farm commodities prices have helped to keep the economy strong while much of the nation moved toward recession. Local pride spiked in October 2008 when the Seattle SuperSonics of the National Basketball Association relocated to the city and became the Oklahoma City Thunder, the state’s first major sports franchise.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 5th Congressional District includes Oklahoma City and all but a small section of Oklahoma County where Midwest City and Tinker Air Force Base are located. It also takes in Pottawatomie and Seminole counties to the east. These two counties partake of the ancestral Democratic leanings of most of Oklahoma. But Oklahoma City is solidly Republican in state and national politics, and Oklahoma County casts about 90% of the district’s votes.