The governor’s race is down to two and for the first time in the history of Oklahoma, it’s an all-female race!
Lt. Gov. Jari Askins, using support from former University of Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer and a last-second telephone and media blitz, pulled off a huge victory, defeating Attorney General Drew Edmondson by just about 2,000 votes.
According to polling data, Edmondson led Askins substantially going into the vote. Traditionally, Askins has always out performed her polling data but pundents were still skeptical about her chances.
Askins will face U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin in the state’s first all-female gubernatorial race this fall.
As of 11 p.m., with 98 percent of the state’s precincts reporting, Askins had 132,484 votes to Edmondson’s 130,967 votes; Askins earned 50.42 percent of the vote to Edmondson’s 49.58 percent.
“We feel good,” Askins said. “I appreciate my family and their support when I do something crazy like run for office.”
Edmondson thanked his campaign staff, his family and his supporters; he said he would support Askins’ campaign.
“Just a few minutes ago, I called Jari Askins and congratulated her on running an excellent campaign and pledged my efforts this fall to help her get elected as governor this fall,” Edmondson said.
On the Republican side, Fallin, the state’s first woman female lieutenant governor, cruised to an easy win, capturing the Republican nomination for governor by outdistancing her three other opponents.
Fallin – who was in Washington to vote on funding for the war in Afghanistan – had 55 percent of the vote; she earned 123,782 votes – 55 percent – to state Sen. Randy Brogdon’s 82,741 – about 38 percent. GOP candidates Robert Hubbard and Roger Jackson each captured about 3 percent of the vote.
Fallin said she was pleased by the victory.
“We are pleased that we will not have a runoff and that we can move on to work toward the general election and electing a conservative governor for the state of Oklahoma,” Fallin said. She said she hoped to encourage Brogdon to support her gubernatorial bid.
OPEA Executive Director Sterling Zearley says the decision on which candidate to support will not be an easy one. “These two wonderful ladies have been very supportive of state employees over their public services careers. OPEAPAC will be taking into consideration the wishes of our members and so we are inviting our Chapters to begin to have discussions and forward any recommendations to my office.” Zearley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.