Republican and Democratic voters took the first step today to select who will lead the state for the next four years, choosing from a lineup that is one of the most impressive in recent memory.
Democrats chose between Attorney General Drew Edmondson, who has been elected to that post since 1994, and Lt. Gov. Jari Askins, a longtime legislator before being elected to that office in 2006, to be their party's nominees for governor.
Democratic Gov. Brad Henry is prohibited from seeking a third four-year term.
U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin, R-Oklahoma City, is the favorite among Republican gubernatorial contenders. Before being elected in 2006 to the 5th Congressional District post, Fallin served three terms as lieutenant governor and two terms in the state House of Representatives.
Edmondson, from Muskogee, is seeking to become the second member of his family to occupy the Governor's Mansion.
His uncle, J. Howard Edmondson, was elected in 1958 and served until early 1963, when he was appointed to the U.S. Senate after the death of Robert S. Kerr. Edmondson's father, Ed, spent 20 years in Congress, and his brother, James, is chief justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
Askins, from Duncan, was a judge before winning election to the Legislature, where she served the maximum 12 years. She won a tough lieutenant governor's race in 2006, beating then-House Speaker Todd Hiett, a Republican from Kellyville.
Fallin's main GOP opponent is state Sen. Randy Brogdon, from Owasso. A former Owasso mayor, city councilman and small business owner, Brogdon is making his first attempt at a statewide office.
Other Republican gubernatorial candidates are political newcomers Robert Hubbard, of Yukon, and Roger L. Jackson, of Oklahoma City.
Democrats and Republicans will vote for candidates for U.S. Senate, governor and state schools superintendent.
Republicans also will select nominees for the posts of lieutenant governor, state auditor and inspector, attorney general, state treasurer, labor commissioner, insurance commissioner and corporation commissioner.
IF YOU GO
GOING TO VOTE
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today for primary elections. Voters with vision problems and those who have trouble marking a ballot have the option to use telephones at every polling place.