Republican  U.S. Rep. Ernest Istook says he is seriously considering a run for governor  in 2006.

“For several months, a lot of people  have encouraged me to run for governor, and I’ve decided it’s time for me  to discuss that possibility with people  across the state,” he said Friday. “It’s  a big decision, so  I’m not going to  rush into it.”

Istook said he  thinks Oklahoma  needs a stronger  leadership voice.

“Governor Henry  seems focused on  shifting money  around inside the  state through taxes  and gambling for  the benefit of state  government,” he  said. “But I’d rather focus on bringing  more into our state, like I’ve been doing as I’ve helped to improve our  transportation, medical research and  our schools in a way that has already,  through my work, brought more jobs  to Oklahoma.”

Istook, who was first elected to the  U.S. House of Representatives in 1992,  said he is not concerned about Gov.  Brad Henry’s popularity.

“For those who believe in polls, I  think it’s important to note that his  numbers are broad but very shallow,”  he said. “People vote according to the  choices given to them. It’s not just  whether someone is willing to vote  for a person but whether they would  prefer to vote for a different person.”

A June Oklahoma Poll showed  Henry with a 72 percent approval rating statewide among those  who expect to vote in November  2006. The survey is sponsored  by the Tulsa World and KOTV,  Channel 6, and conducted by

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