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Gubernatorial candidates push ads on education

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Screen shot of a commercial from the Kevin Stitt campaign.

Screen shot of a commercial from the Kevin Stitt campaign.

The two leading candidates for governor are airing commercials across the state, each pledging to improve Oklahoma schools and raise teacher pay.

Republican Kevin Stitt's first television commercial since he won an August runoff hit airwaves Monday and presents him as a polished businessman who will increase budget transparency and improve schools.

“The career politicians have made a mess,” Stitt says in the commercial, followed by scenes of him dropping his children off at school in a pickup, reading to an elementary class and meeting with a teacher.

Drew Edmondson has aired two commercials over the past month, including one promising low taxes on working families and small government, representing a moderate message that shows the Democratic nominee is working to capture some of Oklahoma's conservative voters.

Edmondson's most recent commercial promises to raise teacher salaries and opens with scenes from April's two-week teacher walkout, which occurred after state lawmakers approved an average of $6,100 in educator pay increases.

“I've served in the Navy and as Oklahoma's attorney general, but my most important job (was) as a teacher in Muskogee," Edmondson said in his commercial.

Edmondson taught speech and debate at Muskogee Central High School for one year in the early 1970s after returning from the Vietnam War, according to his campaign.

The general election is Nov. 6. Libertarian Chris Powell is also on the gubernatorial ballot and has not purchased any television advertising.

Stitt's latest ad buy is more than $500,000 and will run statewide, according to campaign officials.

Edmondson has purchased another $330,000 worth of air time in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa television markets for at least the next week, according to his campaign.

The commercials from both campaigns are free of specific policy proposals and do not address their opponent.

However, political action committees supporting both candidates have aired negative ads in recent weeks.

The Democratic Governors Association has aired a television commercial that claims Stitt has the "same bad ideas" regarding education as Gov. Mary Fallin.

The Republican Governors Association has produced digital ads painting Edmondson as an extreme liberal who is closely aligned with Hillary Clinton.

The Foundation for Economic Prosperity, which is registered with the IRS as a social welfare organization, has spent in opposition to Edmondson. The group's donors are anonymous.

Related Photos
<p>Screen shot of a commercial from the Drew Edmondson campaign.</p>

Screen shot of a commercial from the Drew Edmondson campaign.

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-a7c9ee2ee9cd341e97b815db26081338.jpg" alt="Photo - Screen shot of a commercial from the Drew Edmondson campaign. " title=" Screen shot of a commercial from the Drew Edmondson campaign. "><figcaption> Screen shot of a commercial from the Drew Edmondson campaign. </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-a08c4e8d90d631ad643ffb986e248290.jpg" alt="Photo - Screen shot of a commercial from the Kevin Stitt campaign. " title=" Screen shot of a commercial from the Kevin Stitt campaign. "><figcaption> Screen shot of a commercial from the Kevin Stitt campaign. </figcaption></figure>
Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the... Read more ›

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