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Pruitt Challenges Opponent At Opponent's Office

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ State Sen. Scott Pruitt visited the office of House Speaker Todd Hiett on Friday to confront Hiett over claims that Pruitt is using negative campaign tactics as the two fight for the Republican nomination in the race for lieutenant governor.

Hiett, who was in Tulsa when Pruitt visited his office, called Pruitt's appearance a ``publicity stunt'' that was designed as a ``desperate attempt to turn around a failing campaign.''

Pruitt, from Broken Arrow, said Hiett, from Kellyville, has falsely accused Pruitt of being absent for a vote that led to the largest tax cut in Oklahoma history.

Pruitt said he missed a 2005 tax-cut vote _ which was for the state's largest tax cut ``at that time'' _ because ``I was busy negotiating workers' compensation reform'' but said he voted this year for what now is the state's largest tax cut ever.

The third GOP candidate in the race is state Sen. Nancy Riley of Tulsa. The primary is July 25.

Hiett said in a campaign news release this week that Pruitt had begun the mudslinging by assigning responsibility to Hiett for a 31 percent increase in government spending the past two years.

Hiett also pointed to Pruitt's voting record _ Pruitt voted on only 64 percent of bills before the Senate this year. Pruitt said Friday that during the past eight years, he's been present for 89 percent of votes.

``He was absent 40 percent of the time,'' Hiett said. ``Quite frankly, I could have used his help. I was up against a state Senate that wanted to spend.''

Four Democrats have filed for that party's nomination in the lieutenant governor's race. They are state Sen. Cal Hobson of Lexington; state Rep. Jari Askins of Duncan; Pete Regan, a former aide to U.S. Rep. Dan Boren; and Jim Rogers of Midwest City, who's not campaigning.

One independent, Elmer ``E.Z.'' Million of Norman, also is running.
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