MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

October 18, 2013

Gov. Fallin launches re-election campaign


Associated Press

— TULSA (AP) — Gov. Mary Fallin, a force in Republican Party politics for more than two decades and Oklahoma’s first female governor, formally launched her bid Thursday for a second term in office.

“We can teach Washington a lesson or two about what it takes to be a successful state and a model government,” Fallin said to cheers from dozens of supporters packed inside the Old School Bagel Cafe in midtown Tulsa. “I promise you, no one will work harder for Oklahoma than I will.”

Fallin kicked off her re-election campaign in Tulsa and planned similar stops later in the day at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City and the Museum of the Great Plains in Lawton. But her announcement came as no surprise, considering she raised about $550,000 during the second quarter and had more than $970,000 in her campaign fund by the end of June.

Fallin touted her accomplishments to the crowd. She noted that when she took office in 2011, state unemployment was at 7 percent and the state’s “rainy day” fund was empty, with a mere $2.03. Today, she said, unemployment is 5.3 percent and there is more than $500 million in the rainy day fund.

‘We’re in the middle of what I call an Oklahoma comeback,” Fallin said.

In a brief interview after her announcement, Fallin implied that her campaign was not concerned about fallout at the state level over the recent federal government shutdown that’s left voters angry and blaming politicians in both parties.

“Oklahoma is different than Washington D.C. And I’ve had the opportunity to serve in Congress, and I know those kids of policies don’t work. That’s why they do things differently in Oklahoma.

“Let me just put it this way: I hope what happens in Washington stays in Washington,” she said.

Fallin served two terms in the state House before being elected as the state’s first Republican and first female lieutenant governor in 1994. She served three terms before winning a U.S. House seat in 2006. She ran for Oklahoma’s open governor’s seat in 2010.

That race was sure to result in the smashing of a gender barrier when she faced Democratic nominee and then-Lt. Gov. Jari Askins. With the help of a conservative tide that year, Fallin won with more than 60 percent of the vote.