Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Historic Race For Governor Is Underway In State's First 'Womano-a-womano' Battle For No. 1

With victories in Tuesday's balloting, Democratic Lt. Governor Jari Askins and Republican Congresswoman Mary Fallin begin their historic battle to become the first woman to claim the governor's office.

Their race already is a first; they are the first women to face each other in a race for the state's top office.

Askins earned her spot with an upset of favored Attorney General Drew Edmondson. Askins won by less than one vote per precinct statewide in a result that reminded some of her underdog victory over Republican Todd Hiett four years ago to win the lieutenant governor's chair.

Askins' win continues Barry Switzer's role as king-maker; he endorsed underdog Brad Henry in 2002 and Henry pulled the upset over Republican Steve Largent.

Switzer taped a late statewide radio ad for Askins, saying she was “a great friend, a great sports fan and she’ll be a great governor,” and also held a rally last week for her in Oklahoma City.

Askins, who was a district judge and the state House Majority Leader before being elected to succeed Fallin as lieutenant governor in 2006, also worked to corral women’s support, running ads promising to equalize gender pay disparity; her equal pay ad was cited by The McCarville Report Online earlier as an important boost for her campaign.

earned her spot with a tough win over tenacious Senator Randy Brogdon and two other candidates. Fallin has now won eight out of eight elections in which her name has been on the ballot.

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