ALL the News about
Mormons, Mormonism
and the LDS Church
Mormon News: All the News about Mormons, Mormonism and the LDS Church
Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended January 19, 2001
Most Recent Week
Front Page
Local News
Arts & Entertainment
·New Products
·New Websites
·Mormon Stock Index
Letters to Editor
Continuing Coverage of:
Boston Temple
School Prayer
Julie on MTV
Robert Elmer Kleasen
About Mormon News
News by E-Mail
Weekly Summary
Submitting News
Submitting Press Releases
Volunteer Positions
Bad Link?

News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 20Jan01

By Kent Larsen

Redistricting Puts Istook's House Seat At Risk

NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- While Utah fights to gain an additional seat in the US House of Representatives, one that would likely be filled by a Mormon, the same redistricting process may put the seat of an LDS congressman at risk. As a result of low population growth compared to other states, Oklahoma has lost a seat in the US House of Representatives. At least one of its current six congressmen, which includes LDS Church member Ernest Istook, will not be in the US Congress in 2002.

The next election cycle is still more than a year away, but the redistricting process is just now getting started. The state of Oklahoma has named 20 Democrats and 14 Republicans from its majority Democrat legislature to a committee that will redraw not only its US Congressional district lines, but also the district lines for its legislature. That committee is expected to draw the boundaries to favor the Democrats and the political allies of committee members. Istook, along with another four of Oklahoma's six representatives, is Republican. In the end, the committee could rob two Republicans of their seats -- one because the seat is eliminated and the other if the committee draws the boundaries to make it a Democratic seat.

Istook's seat may be at risk for these manipulations. In his district some 53,000 (27%) voted for his Democratic challenger. In the adjoining districts, all near Oklahoma City, Democrats pulled similar totals, which may give the Democrats an opportunity to concentrate their voters into a single district. However, Oklahoma City itself has generally elected Republicans to the state legislature.

Meanwhile, Mormon News' analysis of other US states indicates that redistricting may lead to additional Mormons in the US Congress. Four states where there are currently Mormon Senators or Representatives picked up additional seats in the Congress, giving Mormon politicians new opportunities.

Perhaps the biggest opportunity is in Arizona, which added two new seats, giving a total of eight representatives in the House of Representatives. Currently Arizona, which has a population that is 6.4% LDS according to the 2001-2002 Deseret News Church Almanac, has just one Mormon congressman. However, the increased number of representatives could add another congressman, especially if a new district includes a portion of heavily-Mormon Mesa and Gilbert or the Mormon towns of Snowflake and St Johns, in Eastern Arizona. Arizona has also been represented by Mormons in the southern part of the state, where Representatives Stuart and Morris Udall held a seat for about 40 years.

Nevada (8% LDS) also gained a seat in the House, as did California (2.2% LDS) and Colorado (2.7%) LDS. All three states currently have Mormon Representatives or Senators, with Nevada being the most likely to pick up a Mormon. Other states represented by Mormons are Idaho, New Mexico, Oregon and Utah. In addition, it is possible that the states of Texas, Washington and Wyoming could elect a Mormon to the US Congress.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information