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Historic Oklahoma governor's race has voters' attention

Most of those asked at the Oklahoma State Fair knew the names of the two women running for governor. Those who didn't know came up with their names when given hints. None, however, knew the names of the two legislators running for lieutenant governor.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Published: September 19, 2010

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-Poteau. Independent Richard Prawdzienski, of Edmond, ran for state corporation commissioner in 2000 as a Libertarian but lost in the primary election. Corn and Lamb have not done much advertising for the November election; Prawdzienski has filed papers with the state Ethics Commission stating he doesn't plan to raise or spend more than $500 in his campaign.

"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.

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