OK Opponents Agree on a Female Governor
August 4, 2010Gubernatorial candidates tend not to celebrate their primary wins by making a joint appearance with their new opponent for the general election. Yet that is exactly what Lt. Gov. Jari Askins and U.S. Representative Mary Fallin did last week after winning Oklahoma’s Democratic and Republican primaries, respectively. The occasion was special. They represented the fourth state governor’s race in U.S. history in which two women have faced off against each other. Before launching into their general election campaigns, Askins and Fallin took a moment to congratulate the state on electing a female governor, regardless of the ultimate winner. Askins told the crowd at the Oklahoma Super Trade Show that they had “proved you were willing to elect a woman to the state's chief executive,” Tulsa World reported. “For that, we are very grateful to you. Thank you very much.” Fallin then shared that same sentiment with the crowd: "I think it says that Oklahoma has come a long way," according to Tulsa World. She felt "very honored to be a part of this historic time in our state where we do have two women that are running for governor." Their mutual respect and their commitment to change the gender balance in Oklahoma’s politics constitute a rare reprieve from the usual run of the midterm elections. It is heartening to see two rival female candidates unite over the importance of electing women to office. The Women’s Media Center will be following the media surrounding this election closely, and we hope that outlets will refrain from sexist coverage of the candidates in Oklahoma, as well as nation-wide.