The first female to serve as governor in state history seems to have caught the attention of some attending the Oklahoma State Fair. But none of the 20 visitors asked during the first day of the 104th edition of the fair had a clue of who is running for lieutenant governor.
Most of the 20 asked Thursday knew the two gubernatorial candidates by name; the others were aware at least that both are women and could come up with at least one of their names when given hints.
Many said they liked the idea of Oklahoma electing its first female governor.
"It'd be kind of neat," said Bret Smith, 38, of Calumet. "It's kind of progressive for both parties to have a female candidate."
"That'd be cool," said Kevin Mulkey, 39, of Clinton. "I can go for a female governor. Ann Richards did good with Texas."
"Anytime a woman gets elected to a high office is awesome," said Shelly Schulz, 42, of Stillwater.
It is only the fourth time in the nation's history in which two women have faced off to become a state's chief executive.
U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin, R-Oklahoma City, and Democratic Lt. Gov. Jari Askins are vying to succeed Gov. Brad Henry. Voters go to the polls Nov. 2. Henry, a Democrat, cannot seek a third successive term.
None of those asked knew the names of the three candidates running to succeed Askins.
This is the first statewide race for state Sens. Todd Lamb, R-Edmond, and Kenneth Corn, D-
"I've heard of them; I just couldn't recall," said Cliff Hartley, 47, of Oklahoma City, when told the names of Corn and Lamb.
Harley didn't hesitate when asked about the gubernatorial candidates, correctly naming both women.
Susan Catlin, 47, of Wellston, said she thinks both gubernatorial candidates are qualified.
"I don't think of it as women versus men," she said. "It's whoever's best for the position."
Fallin is the first female GOP gubernatorial candidate in Oklahoma's 103-year history. Askins is the second woman to win the Democratic nomination for governor. Laura Boyd was the Democratic nominee in 1998; she lost to then-Gov. Frank Keating.
"It's always good for a change," said Ashley Bell, 30, of Oklahoma City. "Women are very good at running businesses and running homes, so why not your state? We're natural caregivers; we're fixers."
"It just gives a different perspective to the issues and politics," said Joe Fusco, 43, of Stillwater.
Fallin served two terms in the state House of Representatives before she was elected in 1994 as the state's first female lieutenant governor. She served three terms in that post and was elected in 2006 to Congress.
Askins, from Duncan, was a judge before winning election in 1994 to the Legislature, where she served the maximum 12 years. She was elected lieutenant governor in 2006.
"We've already had Jari Askins and Mary Fallin both as lieutenant governor," said Christina Hoffman, 44, of Moore.
"It's about time," said Janice Gaches, 62, of Bridge Creek.
"I think it'll be all right," said Greg Smith, 55, of Midwest City. "It can't be any worse than Barack Obama. We got out the first black president; we can have the first woman governor."
Elmer Wyatt, 73, of Meeker, said: "We're going to have to deal with it. We're going to have it."