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Election, booze change on tap for state

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP)  A new year brings new challenges for and opportunities for Oklahoma voters who will pick a new governor and decide whether to legalize medical marijuana.

Here's a look at what's coming up in 2018:

OKLAHOMA GOVERNOR'S RACE

At least a dozen candidates have joined the campaign to become Oklahoma's 28th governor and succeed term-limited Gov. Mary Fallin, the first woman to serve as the state's chief executive.

Six Republicans, three Democrats and three Libertarians are seeking the governor's job in the Nov. 6 general election, a race that tops a ballot that includes a host of congressional, statewide and legislative races. And the next governor will inherit a dismal state budget following years of falling energy prices and state tax cuts that have sapped funding for schools, transportation and economic development.

The Republican candidates are: Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb; Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones; Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett; Tulsa attorney Gary Richardson; political newcomer Kevin Stitt and former state Rep. Dan Fisher. Democrats include: former Attorney General Drew Edmondson; former state Sen. Connie Johnson; and auto mechanic Norman Brown. The Libertarian candidates are Rex Lawhorn; Chris Powell; and Joseph Maldonado, a self-described actor and musician known as "Joe Exotic."

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