Mary Allison was a registered Democrat all of her voting life, but that has now changed.
Allison is among the hundreds of Pittsburg County residents who recently changed political party registration, with 90 percent switching — like Allison — from Democrat or Independent to Republican.
"Well, the Democrats are getting a little bit embarrassing," Allison said, referring to their treatment of President Donald Trump. "They haven't done anything but pick on Trump since he took office."
"At least he's true to America," Allison said of Trump. "That's more than I can say of (Barack) Obama."
She noted that doesn't mean she likes everything Trump does.
"I get aggravated at Trump," she said. "He toots his own horn and he goes overboard."
As for legislative agenda of Democrats in Washington, Allison added: "They haven't done a thing."
Recently, Allison and her adult daughter, Anita Allison, got new voter identification cards issued by the election board proclaiming them members of the GOP.
Both changed their political party affiliation on the same day, during a drive-through registration clinic held Sept. 24 in Pittsburg County and in other counties across Oklahoma and at many sites around the nation as part of Voter Registration Day. Both women rolled up to the drive-through tent set up in a parking lot outside the Pittsburg County Election Board Office and changed party affiliation without ever having to step from their vehicle.
Mary said she stays informed by "reading the newspaper and listening to television" and that led to her decision. She said no one issue prompted her decision to change her voter registration. She also changed her party affiliation in late September, prior to the Oct. 31 vote by the Democrats in the U.S. House of Representative to proceed with a formal impeachment inquiry against Trump.
"I'm voting for Trump," she added.
From Jan. 1, 2019, through Nov. 1, 2019, 361 registered Democrats in Pittsburg County changed their political party affiliation to Republican. Another 35 voters registered as Independents changed their affiliation to the GOP as well, for 396 total.
By contrast, only 19 voters changed from Republican to Democrat, along with another 18 who changed from Independent to Democrat, or 37 total.
Some Democrats interviewed cited what they considered unfair treatment of Trump and U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh when switching parties.
Despite those changes in party registration so far this year, the number of registered Democrats in Pittsburg County still led all other political parties.
As of Nov. 4, there were 12,489 registered Democrats in Pittsburg County, compared to 8,367 Republicans. They were followed by 3,860 registered Independents and 79 registered Libertarians, for a total of 24,795 registered voters. That means Democrats are just over 50% of registered voters in the county.
The shift is more pronounced when looking at the previous presidential election. Pittsburg County had 15,516 registered Democrats for the 2016 election, compared to 6,331 Republicans, and 3,458 Independents. Nearly four years ago, Democrats were 61% of registered voters.
Even though Democrats made up the largest political party in 2016, Trump and the GOP still carried the county by a large margin, with many registered Democrats, along with some Independents and Libertarians crossing party lines for the 2016 General Election.
Trump garnered 12,740 total ballots, for 73.9% of the total votes cast in Pittsburg County in the 2016 presidential race, compared to 3,704, or 21.5% for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Libertarian Gary Johnson, who represented the only other political party on the 2016 General Election ballot in Oklahoma, finished with 806 votes, or 4.7% of the total.
That's no predictor, of course, of what the 2020 election results will be. While Trump at this point is expected to be the 2020 Republican nominee — barring impeachment or some unforeseen situation — the Democratic field is still wide open and one or more third parties on the Oklahoma ballot this year would also have an impact.
Contact James Beaty at firstname.lastname@example.org