Democratic nominee Jari Askins says she is ready to lead

By Patrick B. McGuigan

Published: 28-Jul-2010

In an interview this afternoon with CapitolBeatOK, Lt. Gov. Askins responded to varied questions about the tactics, media platforms and “messaging” that worked to bring her one of the most notable upset wins in state history.

“I knew the polls showing us so far behind were wrong, because of the enthusiasm and support we were experiencing,” Askins said. “Our ‘ground game’ was sound and we made a strong commitment to detail our record, job experiences and important campaign themes with advertising in the state’s newspapers. We had a strong television ad buy, and made sure to work through social media, as well. We were very focused on Facebook and YouTube.”

Did she “tweet?” Askins replied, “We made a point of letting our friends and supporters know where I was, where I was headed, and kept them up on events and speeches and everything. We were extremely active with Twitter, and a lot of that I did myself as we went from one forum to the next.” She added, “A significant factor, I believe, was when supporters re-tweeted to their friends. This is a segment of voters who do not engage in traditional ways of getting political messages.”

Asked to elaborate on that historic newspaper “buy,” Akins explained, “In some ways, faithful newspaper readers have become their own, important and defined demographic. So, we took the message straight to them. I wanted to reach them. As a journalism major in college, it is important to me that those voters know who I am, what I believe, and what I’d like to do for our state. Newspapers remain vital links in our communities.”

Askins was effusive in her praise for “the coach” – former University of Oklahoma head football coach Barry Switzer: “He was the key to our late radio advertisements, telling people he has known me for 30 years, believes in me and knows that I can lead the state.”

As for themes or “messaging,” Akins reflected, “Well, all of the messages were important, and our ability to talk through any issue that came up helped. We stressed the theme of ethics, and the confidence I have in my ability to lead. I guess you could say that we had four tires all aired up and ready for the drive. And we checked those tires regularly to keep them aired at the proper pressure.”

In the last four years, Askins notes, she has visited all 77 counties in the state. She notes her campaign has received contributions from all the counties, as well.

Asked to project what she expects in the general election campaign, she told CapitolBeatOK, “I expect to do more of the same. I want more and more voters to get better acquainted with Jari Askins, my resume and what I believe.”

With all 2,244 precincts reporting, the final but unofficial returns showed that Lt. Gov. Askins secured 132,571 votes, 50.28% of the total cast in the two-person race. Attorney General Drew Edmondson gained 131,078 votes, for 49.72%.