The Norman Transcript

Local news

January 15, 2009

NEW: Askins announces gubernatorial bid

OKLAHOMA CITY - The campaign for Oklahoma Governor officially began Thursday with Lt. Governor Jari Askins "humbly and respectfully" asking Oklahomans for their vote.

Askins - the first candidate to officially announce for the office - launched her campaign in Duncan, then made similar announcements at press conferences in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. If elected, she would be the first woman to serve as Oklahoma's governor.

She said she was the best choice of the state's chief executive because of "her experience and willingness to work hard."

"We are all supposed to be working together for the good of the whole," she said.

Askins, a Democrat, said she announced her campaign early to eliminate rumors and start her fundraising. "For over a year people have been asking if I'm going to run," she said. "And by announcing two years out, it gives us a chance to prove that we are serious."

She said she expected the campaign to cost "several million dollars."

Last month Askins sent out a two-page fundraising letter revealing her intentions to run for governor.

"I want you, as a long-time friend and supporter, to be among the first to know that I will soon become a candidate for Governor of Oklahoma," Askins' letter, dated Jan. 2, said. "This was a decision made after months of fervent prayer, careful thought and many conversations with family and friends."

Askins could be the first of a crowded field for the office. Other candidates considering the race include Democratic Attorney General Drew Edmondson and state Treasurer Scott Meacham, also a Democrat. Republicans Mary Fallin and Tom Cole - both members of Congress - are also said to be rumored to be possible candidates.

Flanked by her sister and brother, Askins said she would continue to push for a state children's cabinet to address childhood health and poverty issues.

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