Oklahoma Republicans and also Democrats chose women to lead their tickets in the fall midterms, meaning the conservative state will elect its first female governor in November.
Despite the perception of anti-Washington sentiment in the heartland, U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin topped a four-candidate Republican field, which included a Tea Party-backed conservative, state Sen. Randy Brogdon, who once called for creation of a state militia to ensure Oklahoma's sovereignty in the face of an "over-reaching federal government," the Associated Press
reported. Fallin took 55 percent of the vote.
On the Democratic side, Lt. Gov. Jari Askins narrowly defeated Drew Edmondson, Oklahoma's attorney general. In a state that reveres college football, she was endorsed by former University of Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer
. "It will be tough between now and Nov. 2..." she told supporters. "You all helped proved tonight that being smart enough to run a good campaign, a smart campaign, puts us in a position to be able to move forward toward Nov. 2."
Fallin, a two-term congresswoman and a former lieutenant governor, said the race "is about electing a conservative governor." She was backed by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty
-- conservatives all.
The winner in November will succeed Democratic Gov. Brad Henry, who is barred by a term-limit law from running for re-election.
In the Senate primary, incumbent Tom Coburn, (R-Okla.) was nominated for reelection by the GOP, while Democrats chose Jim Rogers of Midwest City.