Barry Switzer is backing Lt. Gov. Jari Askins in her bid for governor

Former University of Oklahoma head football coach Barry Switzer on Thursday endorsed Democratic Lt. Gov. Jari Askins in her bid for governor.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Modified: July 23, 2010 at 10:47 am •  Published: July 23, 2010
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Former University of Oklahoma head football coach Barry Switzer is interjecting himself again in Oklahoma's gubernatorial election.

Switzer, former head football coach at OU and for the Dallas Cowboys, on Thursday endorsed Democratic Lt. Gov. Jari Askins in her bid for governor.

His endorsement comes just days before Tuesday's primary elections. Askins and Attorney General Drew Edmondson are vying for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

Switzer in 2002 is credited with helping Gov. Brad Henry come from behind to win the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in a runoff election and go on to an upset victory in a three-way race in the general election. A scientific poll by OU showed that of those who voted for Henry, 16 percent said Switzer's endorsement influenced their decision to vote for Henry, who easily won re-election in 2006 but is prohibited from seeking a third term.

Switzer told a crowd Thursday evening at the Oklahoma History Center that the Democrats have the two best candidates in the governor's race, but it came down to him knowing Askins longer. He's known her for 30 years, he said.

Switzer called Askins, who is a former judge and lawmaker, the "total package and the nicest person you'll ever meet."

Former Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan, D-Stillwater, who introduced Switzer to the crowd, said his endorsement could be considered a "game changer" in the primary.

Edmondson, contacted earlier, countered that his campaign recently was endorsed by the National Rifle Association.



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