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Oklahoma elections: Fallin sweeps into history

Republican Mary Fallin jumped out to a lead over Democrat Jari Askins in early returns in the race for Oklahoma governor.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Modified: November 3, 2010 at 9:53 am •  Published: November 3, 2010

Benefiting from voters upset with what they see as an overreaching federal government, Republican Mary Fallin on Tuesday was elected the state's first female governor.

GOP candidates also swept all statewide offices, another first, including lieutenant governor, insurance commissioner, labor commissioner, superintendent of schools, auditor and inspector, attorney general and treasurer. The Republican Party also has control of the Oklahoma House and Senate.

Fallin, becoming only the second Oklahoma member of Congress to win the state's top chief executive post, captured about 58 percent of the vote over Democrat Jari Askins.

"It feels wonderful," said Fallin, a congresswoman from Edmond, saying she was deeply humbled and honored.

"I'm a small-town girl from Tecumseh, Oklahoma," she said.

Fallin said she would start "immediately on right-sizing government."

"One of the first things I'll do is to address our financial challenges that we have within our state," Fallin said outside her suite at the Oklahoma City Marriott, site of the Oklahoma Republican Party's watch party.

"I talked on the campaign trail about having a governor's task force to look at ways to make government more efficient and more effective.

"I've identified people throughout the state that I hope will come alongside me and work with me to take an in-depth look at how we can create more efficiency and eliminate waste and any duplication in government, that we can put the money to our important priorities of our state such as education, transportation, law enforcement, corrections and mental health."

On the campaign trail, Fallin used just about every opportunity to demonize Democratic President Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress for passing the health care measure earlier this year and for being against the oil and gas industry, a huge player in Oklahoma's economy.

Fallin repeatedly said she would "stand up to Washington" and the big-government policies of Obama.

Askins, the state's lieutenant governor, tried to distance herself from the president, who failed to win any of Oklahoma's 77 counties two years ago. She said she opposed the health care law for more than a year and said on several occasions she never even met the president.

Askins tried to put the focus on her ability to continue the workhorse-like attitude she developed as a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and lieutenant governor.

She told supporters at the Crowne Plaza Hotel that she had congratulated Fallin.

Complete 2010 Elections Coverage

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