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Democrats pick up House seat in northwestern Oklahoma City

September 9, 2015 GMT
Cyndi Munson smiles as she talks with staff at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015. Munson, a Democrat who won a special election Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015 to a traditional Republican stronghold House seat in northwest Oklahoma City said her victory was a combination of hard work on the ground and shifting demographics in urban neighborhoods. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Cyndi Munson smiles as she talks with staff at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015. Munson, a Democrat who won a special election Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015 to a traditional Republican stronghold House seat in northwest Oklahoma City said her victory was a combination of hard work on the ground and shifting demographics in urban neighborhoods. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Cyndi Munson smiles as she talks with staff at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015. Munson, a Democrat who won a special election Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015 to a traditional Republican stronghold House seat in northwest Oklahoma City said her victory was a combination of hard work on the ground and shifting demographics in urban neighborhoods. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A Democrat who won election to the state House from a longtime Republican stronghold in northwestern Oklahoma City credited her victory to hard work on the ground and shifting demographics in urban neighborhoods.

According to complete but unofficial results, Cyndi Munson captured more than 53 percent of the vote over Republican Chip Carter in Tuesday’s special election to replace Republican Rep. David Dank, who died in April at the age of 76.

“When you run for a legislative seat, door knocking is key, so getting in front of the voters is the most important piece,” Munson said Wednesday. The 30-year-old is a native of Lawton and has worked as a community outreach manager with the Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma.

Munson also ran against Dank in 2014 and got nearly 44 percent of the vote against the popular, well-known incumbent. She also had a disadvantage in fundraising, having raised about $92,000 to Carter’s $176,000, according to the most recent campaign finance reports.

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“I heard ‘uphill battle’ more times than I wanted, but it inspired me to keep going,” Munson said. “And I think perseverance is important in something like this.”

She won the race against Carter, 46, vice president of an Oklahoma City public relations firm who said he’s still considering whether to run for the seat again in 2016.

“I’m getting asked that question a lot,” Carter said, adding that he tells people he needs a month with his family and to get back into the rhythm of things before making any decisions.

“For right now, I’m proud of the effort I gave,” he said.

The district surrounds Lake Hefner, includes portions of Nichols Hills, The Village and Warr Acres, and is mostly bordered on the south by Northwest Expressway. It has been represented by a Republican since the 1960s, including two terms by Gov. Mary Fallin in the early 1990s.

But Munson said the demographics of the district are shifting, with more young people and working-class families moving into the neighborhoods.

Munson’s win is a rare pickup for Democrats, who now hold 30 seats in the 101-member House.

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This story has been corrected to show that Dank was a state representative, not a state senator.

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Follow Sean Murphy at www.twitter.com/apseanmurphy