OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Republican gubernatorial candidate Ernest Istook began running his first television ad of his general election campaign on Wednesday and challenged Democratic incumbent Brad Henry to debate him in Tulsa.
Istook and Henry appeared in their first debate Monday in Lawton and have two more scheduled on Oklahoma City television stations. Istook said that is not fair to voters in eastern Oklahoma.
``I'll rearrange my schedule in these last three weeks to meet Brad Henry anywhere in Tulsa he likes, in front of any group, for a televised debate that gives voters a real chance to hear the important differences between us,'' Istook said.
Paul Sund, gubernatorial spokesman, said arrangements are under way to ensure the debates are aired in the Tulsa area and other parts of the state over the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority.
The two candidates are scheduled to square off Monday at the University of Central Oklahoma. That debate will be carried live at 7 p.m. by Oklahoma City's KOCO, Channel 5, and on radio stations KTOK in Oklahoma City and KOSU in Stillwater. KGOU in Norman will carry it on a tape delay basis.
The final gubernatorial debate is set for 7 p.m. on Nov. 2 at Rose State College and will be telecast by Oklahoma City television station KFOR, Channel 4.
Bob Sands, assistant news director at OETA, said the Rose State debate will be re-telecast statewide at 8 p.m. on Nov. 3 and efforts are under way to also rebroadcast Monday's debate from UCO.
Also, the KFOR debate will be carried live on the Web site of Tulsa television station KJRH, Channel 2. Steve Weinstein, news director, said the Tulsa station is attempting to make arrangements to show that debate at a different time slot the night of Nov. 2.
Istook's television commercial refers to his discussions with voters in campaign travels with his wife, Judy. It shows the Istooks in various settings across the state against the backdrop of a state map.
``Oklahoma needs more growth, more good paying jobs to keep our children here. To create those jobs we've got to lower taxes, pass lawsuit reform, fix our roads and provide every child a quality education,'' Istook says.
Sund said the issues Istook talks about have been part of the governor's efforts in his first term.
``We're reforming our justice system, we're improving our roads and bridges and we're building a better education system for our kids,'' he said.
Meanwhile, Henry began running his sixth television commercial Monday discussing legislation he sponsored to improve life insurance benefits of National Guard soldiers.
In the commercial, Kyle Hill of the 120th Engineer Battalion says he ``wasn't scared about serving in Iraq, but I was scared about what would happen to my family if I didn't come back.''
Then a voice says: ``Whenever Governor Brad Henry heard that families of fallen National Guard soldiers only got $12,000, he did something about it. Every Oklahoma National Guard soldier now has a $250,000 life insurance policy.''