Friday, May 20, 2011

Oklahoma Democratic Party Chair Election - With Maps!

It is a long time until we get to 2012. A long time before an electoral map junkie like me gets to wonk out about polls and predictions and electoral votes and whatnot. Fortunately for me, I was selected as a delegate to the Oklahoma Democratic Party's state convention last weekend at the Bricktown Hotel and Convention Center (conveniently located nowhere near Bricktown).

The contest for chair of the party provided that perfect combination of geography and politics that I so crave. Former state representative Wallace Collins (D-Norman) ended up winning the position, but it took three votes and approximately four hours to get him there. After the first vote, a problem with the credentials of the delegates was discovered, which caused a delay of a couple of hours and resulted in a huge amount of business for the hotel's bar. Then once everything was finally worked out and everyone was re-credentialed, a second vote was held, but by then two of the candidates had dropped out. After those votes were tallied, a final runoff was then held between Wallace Collins and Dana Orwig, a favorite of a constituency of delegates calling themselves True Blue Democrats. It was initially announced erroneously that the runoff would be between Collins and Mannix Barnes, a candidate with strong support from the southeastern Oklahoma region known as "Little Dixie", an area that traditionally leans Democratic in state politics.

I kept track of the vote tallies as each county official announced it for all three votes. Then I made my own electoral cartogram of the state with the size of each county roughly proportional to the number of delegates allotted to it. I say "roughly" because I couldn't find exactly how many delegates each county was allotted because of the presence of ex-officio delegates and party officials, so the size of the counties in my maps is determined by the largest of the following: the number of delegates allotted according to the formula in the Oklahoma Democratic Party's constitution (which involves number of votes in statewide elections), or the largest number of delegates to vote in any round of voting for the chair. There are plenty of holes in the map because not every delegate showed up to the convention, including whole counties like Mayes, Sequoyah and the entire panhandle region.

Anyways, here are the maps.

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