Tags: US | Oklahoma | Primary

Edmondson Concedes in Okla. Democratic Primary

Wednesday, 28 Jul 2010 06:58 AM

The race for Oklahoma governor will feature two women at the top of the ticket.

Lt. Gov. Jari Askins defeated Attorney General Drew Edmonson on Tuesday. The attorney general conceded in a late-night speech that he would not make up the slim margin Askins held as the final votes were being counted.

Askins will face Republican U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin in the Nov. 2 general election.

Askins and Edmondson each gave up relatively safe seats in an effort to keep the governor's seat in Democratic hands. Gov. Brad Henry is term-limited and cannot seek a third term.

U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma City defeated state Sen. Randy Brogdon and two other candidates and would be the state's first female governor if elected Nov. 2. Democrats chose between Attorney General Drew Edmondson and Lt. Gov. Jari Askins.

Fallin gave up her congressional seat to seek an office being vacated by Democratic Gov. Brad Henry, who cannot run for re-election because of term limits. Brogdon put up a pesky fight and accused Fallin of making a "liberal compromise" by voting in 2008 for President George W. Bush's plan to bail out the nation's financial industry.

With two-thirds of the state's precincts reporting unofficial returns, Fallin had 58 percent of the vote and Brogdon had 36 percent.

Voters also decided nominees in races for U.S. Senate and Congress, state House and Senate, and eight statewide posts, including five open seats.

Fallin was unable to vote for herself after being called back to Washington for a vote on a supplemental funding bill for the war in Afghanistan. She planned to return to Oklahoma City on Tuesday night to address supporters.

"She never fought this primary with both fists out," said University of Oklahoma political science professor Keith Gaddie. "She's absorbed some blows from a primary opponent, but it has not endangered her nomination."

Fallin was the state's first woman and first Republican to serve as lieutenant governor, a post she held for 12 years before being elected to Congress from the Oklahoma City area in 2006. She previously served two terms in the state House.

Retired Department of Defense worker James Sieber, 65, said he was most concerned about the economy as he voted for Fallin in the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore.

"It is the economy and the direction this economy is going and the need to change that direction," Sieber said.

Donnie Andrews, 49, a Moore police officer, expressed a similar sentiment and also voted for Fallin.

"I was planning on retiring, but not with the economy the way it is," he said.

Brogdon told The Associated Press in April that he backed the creation of a new state militia to address what he called an "overreaching federal government." He retreated after a public backlash and said he was speaking only about a National Guard-style militia to aid the state during civil emergencies.

Also in the Republican race Tuesday were Oklahoma City-area businessmen Robert Hubbard and Roger Jackson.

Edmondson and Askins gave up relatively safe seats to try and keep the governor's mansion in Democratic hands.

Edmondson is a Vietnam veteran who served four terms as attorney general. His father is a former U.S. congressman, his uncle was elected governor in 1958, and his brother is chief justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

Edmondson has raised the most money among all the candidates, amassing nearly $2.6 million in contributions through July 12, according to the most recent campaign finance reports.

Askins served as a special district judge in Stephens County, as a member of the pardon and parole board and for 12 years in the Statehouse before defeating then-House Speaker Todd Hiett for lieutenant governor in 2006. Askins enjoyed a last-minute endorsement from former University of Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer, a state icon who backed Henry in 2002.

In the U.S. Senate primary, incumbent Republican Tom Coburn defeated primary challengers Evelyn Rogers of Tulsa and retired teacher Lewis Kelly Spring of Hugo. Coburn will face Democratic nominee Jim Rogers of Midwest City, who beat political newcomer Mark Myles. Two independents also await Coburn in the Nov. 2 general election.

© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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