Capitol Beat OK

Game on: Askins, Edmondson enter race for Oklahoma governor

By Patrick B. McGuigan

Published: 07-Jun-2010

All four leading candidates for governor of Oklahoma made their candidacies official on Monday (June 7). The two Democratic party hopefuls, Lieutenant Governor Jari Askins and Attorney General Drew Edmondson, led the way.

Lt. Gov. Askins told CapitolBeatOK, “I expect the primary to be a tough race. I am experienced and certainly used to that. One of the themes in our campaign is that with my unique experience in all three branches of Oklahoma government I have the mix of abilities necessary to do a great  job for Oklahoma.”

Askins continued, “We’re ready for the race. We’ve been working hard, and now we’re going to work even harder.

In response to a question, she explained her motivation for seeking the state’s top job: “I am running for governor because I am confident about my ability, and about my experiences having prepared me to do the job.

“I have the skills set that Oklahoma is looking for as we navigate through these difficult times. No candidate in the race brings to this contest the set of experiences and skills that I do. I am confident as this great race begins.”

In prepared comments, Askins said, “As Oklahomans we have an opportunity to lead the way in renewable energy, medical research, aerospace, agriculture, government reform and much more. All we need is determined, bipartisan and tireless leadership.”

Askins said, “People tell me every day … they are angry and frustrated with government. Too many tax dollars are wasted because too little attention is paid to details of the state budget.” She said she wants “to make government work for the people of Oklahoma.”

Edmondson took time to discuss his candidacy with CapitolBeatOK, saying, “I am the best choice for the Democratic nominaion because I have a record of accomplishment. I am running on what we’ve done in all areas, from the litigation that led to creation of the Tobacco Trust to leadership in the battle against domestic violence. I promised to reform the death penalty process, and we’ve done so.”

 He continued, “All that is just a beginning. We are running a confident and forward-looking campaign.”

Pressed on campaign spending, Edmondson reflected, “It will take $5-7 million to win. We’ve raised $2 million so far for the primary and it will take that much and more to get all the way to the general election.”

In his prepared comments, the state’s top law enforcement officer said, “My priorities have not changed. From day one, I have made it clear that, for me, Job One as governor will be creating jobs and growing Oklahoma’s economy. Generation growth is the only way we are going to be able to make the improvements that need to be made in education, corrections, mental health and the other functions of state government.”

Edmondson contended, “I understand the challenges faced every day by our law enforcement community. We cannot ignore the angers posed by methamphetamine cooks and dealers and those who take to the roads under the influence of drugs or alcohol. We need to step up our work in this arena.”

The veteran campaigner concluded, “Ensuring safe streets and neighborhoods and guaranteeing a quality public education system for all of our citizens is vital to growing our economy. When companies consider relocating their corporate family, they look at the same things that families look at when trying to decide where to live. Are the neighborhoods safe? Are the schools good? Is there clean water and accessible transportation? Oklahoma’s quality of life is an economic asset. As governor, I’ll make sure it stays that way.”