Jari Askins reflects on ‘exhilarating experience’ of statewide race

 Lieutenant Governor Jari
Askins says, “The experience of running for statewide office was
exhilarating. That experience is about the people. I met people in all
parts of Oklahoma for more than a year. Connecting and reconnecting with
the people was something I’ll never forget. It reaffirmed my faith in

Askins ran hard in her contest with Mary Fallin, and remained competitive in campaign expenditures through the end. But in Tuesday’s election, Fallin soared to a 20% advantage. In January, she will become the state’s first female governor.

As for Askins, on Wednesday morning (November 3), she “was at work today
by 9 a.m.. It will be same thing tomorrow. I have some calls to make
and a lot of work to do. I called Todd Lamb and he came by [Wednesday]
afternoon. We had a good meeting and talked about things. We will both
work to assure the transition is as smooth as possible. I have known him
for years and, of course, we worked together in my role as president of
the Senate.”

CapitolBeat OK spoke with Askins before a gala fundraiser for the Chabad
Community Center for Jewish Life and Learning. The stand-up interview
was frequently interrupted with well-wishes stopping to hug Askins or
kiss her on the cheek. When she was introduced before the event, the
crowd responded with a sustained ovation.

Despite the astonishing margin of her defeat, Askins was actually
stronger than several of the other statewide Democratic candidates.
Given the nature of the electoral mood this year, CapitolBeatOK wonder
if the 2010 election was ever “winnable,” even for a respected Democrat
like Jari Askins. Askins responded this way:

“Clearly I thought it was do-able. I knew for quite awhile that the push
back against Washington, D.C. would be there. When I was announced in
2009, the feelings were not as intense, but of course they hadn’t yet
done all the things that later aggravated people. We just hadn’t yet
experienced, or yet seen, some of what came in the year after I
announced. Clearly the actions in Washington made the people here

In the general election, “ The impact was from top-to-bottom. When you
look at the base vote for Republicans, a lot of that came from straight
ticket voting. It affected everything, from the level of district
attorneys on up. It took out sitting representatives and senators and
swept into the open seats. Straight-ticket voting had a big effect this

Askins smiled and concluded: “Well, I just couldn’t convince the people
of Oklahoma that the ‘D’ after my name stood for Duncan.”