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Sally Kern's Last-Minute Slam

Sally Kern's Last-Minute Slam

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Oklahoma state representative Sally Kern and her challenger Brittany Novotny don't agree on much, but neither supports one of the more contentious issues in their state this Election Day: State Question 744.

Novotny's disapproval on the ballot question, which would raise per-student education spending in a way she does not agree with, was never made public. However, Kern's last-minute mailer, sent to voters over the weekend, not only claims the challenger supports SQ744 but points out several times that she is transgender.

"Last I checked, bearing false witness is in violation of the 10 commandments," Novotny said. "This kind of false representation of my position on an important local issue shows that Representative Kern is not only out of touch and ineffective but also just plain dishonest. The voters of HD 84 deserve a representative who will focus on jobs, education and transportation -- not more political games."

The mailer also points out that Novotny is unmarried, chair of the LGBT Caucus of Oklahoma, and supports marriage equality as defining traits. Kern, on the other hand "supports traditional marriage (between a man and women [sic])" and touts that she is the wife of a preacher.

After more than a year of campaigning, Novotny said she will spend the last few hours knocking on doors and making phone calls until the polls close at 7 p.m., a tactic she has used throughout the entire campaign to get voters to know her beyond her transgender status.

"It's been filled with ups and downs," Novotny told The Advocate. "It's been a long ride. I'm happy it's coming to a close, but I like campaigning. I'm ready for some downtime. I've met hundreds of voters, and I've learned a lot by knocking on more than 2,500 doors."

Still throughout the campaign, Novotny and Kern have not had a head-to-head debate, the candidates have appeared at candidate forums and did have one mediated interview on a local show, Flash Point, during which the hosts played a clip from the infamous YouTube video of Kern's tirade against LGBT people, where she said the "homosexual agenda is destroying this nation" more than "terrorism or Islam."

On the show, Kern said she was happy they aired the clip.

"I'm glad you played that because I think it really shows the hypocrisy of...my opponent...because my opponent doesn't want to have anything said about her lifestyle, her sex-change operation, in the district, but all over the Internet, all over homosexual websites and blogs, it says 'I'm running against the radical Sally Kern. Send money to my campaign so we can get her out of office.'"

Early in the campaign, Kern said she would not use Novotny's transgender status as a talking point, but supporters of hers have. An e-mail from the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee to its members on September 7 called Novotny a "confused it" and accused her of having "hatred toward God," according to Novotny's campaign.

Novotny has remained on-message throughout her campaign, trying to stress the issues of jobs, transportation, public safety, and education in the state. She said that her opponent has been avoiding these issues because she is not in touch with local issues. Because of that, Novotny said her candidacy has become enticing to voters who might not traditionally go to the polls for her, and an especially key demographic in the 2010 election nationwide.

"We've been getting great support from the independent votes," she said. "They're swinging our way from our field [research]. Beyond that we're even getting some Republicans who want to get things moving forward here in Oklahoma."

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