OKLAHOMA CITY -- However it turns out, Oklahoma's 2010 gubernatorial race will be significant.
The next governor of Oklahoma will have to deal with a legislature that is controlled by Republicans in both houses. The state has never had a Republican governor who was in power at the same time Republicans had the majority numbers in the Legislature.
But an even bigger factor may be who is running for governor this year.
Two of the four candidates seeking to replace Democratic Gov. Brad Henry are women -- one Republican and one Democrat. Oklahoma has never elected a female governor.
Lt. Gov. Jari Askins and Attorney General Drew Edmondson are vying for the Democratic nomination, while Congresswoman Mary Fallin and state Sen. Randy Brogdon are seeking the GOP nod.
State GOP Chairman Gary Jones says conservative rural areas are expected to be a key battleground because that's where Republicans have picked up seats recently.
State Democratic Party chairman Todd Goodman says GOP legislative leaders were reluctant this year to fund rural economic development projects and other programs important to rural folks.