Gubernatorial Debate

Edmond, OK – Askins, Fallin tout conservativism at Okla. debate

EDMOND, Okla. (AP) Lt. Gov. Jari Askins laid out conservative credentials as she opened a governor's office debate at the University of Central Oklahoma, telling a crowd of about 500 that her values were the same as the mainstream Oklahoman.

Congresswoman Mary Fallin staked a similar claim as the candidates sparred in a debate to be televised later Tuesday. She said Oklahoma needed to keep taxes low and its government small to ensure a prosperous future.

Askins described herself as an "Oklahoma Democrat," someone who is pro-life, pro-gun, pro-education and pro-business, and criticized recent advertising describing her as extreme. Fallin said she offered a strategy to improve the economy and said a recent tour in which she performed other Oklahomans' jobs helped her understand worries among the state's residents.

Whoever wins in balloting Nov. 2 will be the state's first female governor.