Oklahoma AG narrowly defeated in Gubernatorial Primary

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July 28, 2010

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma: In spite of having accumulated a substantial war chest, more than any other candidate in the race, and poll numbers in the days prior to the state primary strongly suggesting he held a comfortable lead, Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson narrowly lost the Democratic nomination in the state's gubernatorial contest to Lieutenant Governor Jari Askins by six-tenth of a percentage point.[1][2]

2010 Race for Governor - Democratic Primary[3]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Jari Askins (D) 50.3%
Drew Edmondson (D) 49.7%
Total votes 263,649

The reasons behind Askins last-minute surge will likely be debated for weeks to come as she prepares to duke it out with Mary Fallin, a two-term Republican member of the United States House of Representatives. Politico contends that it was the lieutenant governor's corralling of support among both women and sport fans that contributed to her narrow victory. Late in the primary campaign, Askins received the endorsement of former University of Oklahoma and Dallas Cowboys football coach Barry Switzer, which her campaign featured prominently in a radio advertisement released shortly before the primary election. She also attracted women to her campaign after "promising to equalize gender pay disparity."[4]

Another argument may be that while Askins appears less likely to defeat Fallin in November, at least as far as past polling data is concerned, Edmondson would have carried a lot of baggage with him going into the general election contest. With two weeks left before Oklahoma voters went to the polls, Edmondson was named "The Nation's Second Worst Attorney General" by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a non-profit public policy organization dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government. Basing their criteria on dubious dealings, fabricating law, usurping legislative power, and predatory practices, the Oklahoma Attorney General, who at the time of the publication was a gubernatorial candidate, received a letter grade of F in all four categories. CEI sharply criticized Edmondson's prosecution of the Oklahoma 3, adding that his tenure as state attorney general "has been marked by a pattern of political bullying and hypocrisy."[5][6]

Furthermore, both conservatives as well as liberals would be questioning what Drew Edmondson they were going to get were he to be elected to the governor's mansion. This was no more prominent than in the national health care reform debate that swept the country for more than ten months. In the wake of the historic passage of President Barack Obama's health care reform legislation on Christmas Eve in 2009, Edmondson joined fourteen Republican Attorneys General in questioning not only the constitutionality of a specific controversial provision within the Senate version of the bill, but also exploring potential legal challenges to the measure as well.[7] Despite this initial involvement, Edmondson changed his tune four months later while in the midst of his gubernatorial campaign. Three months after President Obama signed into law his controversial health care reform bill, the one that narrowly passed the United States House of Representatives just two days prior to this, "Edmondson says he decided not to challenge the law after members of his staff spent hundreds of hours examining the 2,500-page bill."[8] He insisted that politics had no affect on his decision.

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