Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Jari Askins
narrowly defeated state Attorney General Drew Edmondson in Tuesday’s Democratic
primary for governor.
Askins won 50.3 percent of
the vote to Edmondson’s 49.7 percent. The gap between the two was less than
Edmondson, who trailed in
early returns, narrowed the gap with Askins as the night wore on, but
eventually conceded victory to Askins despite the razor-thin margin.
The Democratic primary
contest was close for weeks. Both candidates decided to forgo running for
reelection to their respective statewide offices for a shot at the governor’s
Edmondson led heading into
Election Day both in the polls and in campaign dollars. He raised more cash
than any gubernatorial candidate in either party, banking $2.6 million over the
course of his campaign.
In the race’s final week,
Askins lent her campaign a hefty $675,000. But even with that cash included,
she was only able to manage $1.1 million over the course of the race.
She did, however, receive a
last-minute boost from former University of Oklahoma football coach Barry
Switzer, who endorsed her last week. Switzer is a wildly popular figure in the
state, and statewide candidates have sought his backing in the past.
provided a last-minute boost for Gov. Brad Henry during his first run in 2002.
The primary victory for Askins ensures that the state will elect
its first female governor this fall. Askins will face Rep. Mary Fallin (R) in