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Oklahoma Gubernatorial Candidates Face Off In Final Debate Before Election

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Jari Askins [left] and Mary Fallin [right] in their final debate Thursday night in Tulsa. Jari Askins [left] and Mary Fallin [right] in their final debate Thursday night in Tulsa.
Jari Askins answers questions at Thursday night's debate. Jari Askins answers questions at Thursday night's debate.
Mary Fallin answers questions during Thursday night's debate. Mary Fallin answers questions during Thursday night's debate.
The crowd listens as Askins and Fallin debate Thursday night. The crowd listens as Askins and Fallin debate Thursday night.

NewsOn6.com & Emory Bryan, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Oklahoma voters head to the polls next Tuesday, November 2, 2010,  to choose our next governor and history will be made no matter which candidate gets the state's top job.

Either Republican Congresswoman Mary Fallin or Democratic Lieutenant Governor Jari Askins will become Oklahoma's first female governor.

10/26/2010 Related Story: Fallin, Askins Respond To 'Motherhood' Comment Controversy

The two candidates participated in their final debate Thursday evening.  The debate, sponsored by the Tulsa Metro Chamber of Commerce, took place at the campus of OSU-Tulsa.

They each tried to make the case their brand of conservative values would work best for Oklahoma.

"I hope I have a chance to change the way government does business," Askins said.

Mary Fallin said if she's elected, her legacy would be fending off the federal government.

"As the governor who stood up to Washington, when Washington it trying to do things that will hurt Oklahoma and our economy," Fallin said.

The debate was the second and last to be televised statewide before the election. It was the last chance for both candidates to go beyond their campaign advertising.

Jari Askins emphasized her willingness to work with both parties to accomplish common goals.

"Twice during Governor Keatings administration he signed bills I negotiated on workers compensation," she said.

Both candidates said the challenge of the next governor's term would be the state budget.

"We need to look at government top to bottom and I'm going to do that," Fallin said.

Fallin and Askins agreed on their opposition to State Question 744. Both approved of the question on Sharia law. Both spoke politely of Sarah Palin. Both said they support efforts to reduce Oklahoma's prison incarceration rate, which is one of the highest in the nation.

Both talked of their unique experience at controlling government.

"To focus on creating jobs, making government right sized, to create a better educated workforce and to stand up to Washington when they're hurting jobs and our economy," Fallin said.

"I found out that through that process that we can do a better job of the process of how this state handles the appropriations process," said Askins.

For more on Campaign 2010, including the candidates and a list of state questions that will appear on the ballot, check out NewsOn6.com/politics.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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