There has been quite a bit written in the media about how Jari Askins pulled off the upset over Drew Edmondson to win the Democratic primary for governor. Most stories reported Barry Switzer, robo-calls and face-to-face politicking did the trick. I wouldn't disagree with any of it.
However, there is an even bigger backstory about Askins' campaign tactics: one that involves some covert operations which, when looking at the whole picture, easily makes sense as to how victory was achieved.
The strategy involved four major components: minorities, poultry farms, staying positive and a secret society of legislators. MINORITIES
Askins heavily sought out the support of minorities, especially among African-American churches. She spent plenty Sunday mornings sitting in some of the black congregations and lining up support from several black ministers. It's why Askins was able to pull votes away from Edmondson in Tulsa, a crucial area for him to win by wide margins.
Edmondson still won Tulsa County, but light voter turnout in the area and minority support helped Askins keep the margin lower than expected. (Expect Tulsa to be the battleground again between Askins and Mary Fallin, as neither candidate won that area.)
Sources inside the Askins campaign said minorities were also upset at Edmondson for his strong support and efforts to speed up the execution process. POULTRY
It was no secret that counties with large poultry farms did not like Edmondson. His attorney general lawsuit against poultry farms over the quality of water in Northeastern Oklahoma sent money and votes Askins' way. It had major effects in McCurtain County and Ottawa County, areas Edmondson should have done better in. In the last few days of the campaign, Askins received thousands of dollars in contributions from the poultry industry, including Arkansas companies. LEGISLATORS
This is the secret weapon Askins employed to overcome her opponent. Edmondson's strength was in Eastern Oklahoma, where he grew up and served as a legislator and district attorney. But Askins gained support from several east-side legislators who kept it quiet, but worked to help the lieutenant governor to victory. POSITIVITY
In the closing weeks of the campaign, a huge debate emerged in the Askins camp about whether to go negative. Polls were showing Askins was falling behind, and Edmondson was still out-fundraising Askins. But sources said they crunched the numbers and found they could stay positive and still win, just barely.