OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A Democratic state lawmaker from southeast Oklahoma says he's switching parties, a move that continues Democrats' dramatic loss of seats in rural areas.
Rep. Johnny Tadlock of Idabel announced Thursday that he was changing his party affiliation to Republican. The former sheriff of McCurtain County, Tadlock says in a statement he felt he could better serve his constituents as a member of the majority party.
Tadlock did not draw an opponent this year, ensuring he served a third term.
Tadlock's defection leaves Democrats with just 24 seats in the 101-member body. Southeast Oklahoma had long been a Democratic stronghold, but Democrats have been losing seats there over the last two decades.
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