Two-term State Auditor & Inspector, Gary Jones, has decided to no longer be silent on the Republican election to find his successor.
Jones is term limited, having served 8 years in the post. Oklahoma's constitution was recently amended by the voters, to prevent statewide incumbents from seeking a 3rd 4-year term.
Two candidates are locked in a heated battle for the OKGOP nomination. The Runoff Election concludes next Tuesday, but early polling started yesterday.
Cindy Byrd has served in a senior position on Jones' team and he has supported her campaign consistently. Charlie Prater has outspent her by a ratio of 5:1, using his own family wealth. Despite that advantage, Byrd has led in the polls throughout the campaigning.
Here is Jones' statement, attempting to respond to what Jones sees as scurrilous and baseless allegations.
It’s Time To Set The Record Straight It’s tough sitting on the sidelines while someone demeans your record, office, and leadership. Charlie Prater, who is running to be state auditor, has built his entire campaign on false accusations and baseless lies.
Prater accused Deputy State Auditor Cindy Byrd of campaigning on state time and bilking taxpayers out of tens of thousands of dollars in travel expenses. The TRUTH is Cindy Byrd has not spent a single dime of taxpayer’s money. She travels at her own expense and takes personal leave time to campaign.
Now Prater has reverted to making accusations of corruption at the State Auditor’s Office. It’s okay to disagree with our audits or the job we’ve done safeguarding taxpayer dollars. But, no one has questioned the integrity of the State Auditor’s Office since I took office 7½ years ago.
The State Auditor should not be about misleading the public and Charlie’s done it again and again. He surrounds himself with corrupt officials who were ousted due to Cindy’s audits. He chose a disgraced former state representative as his campaign manager for whom these attacks are partly personal.
If this is how he campaigns, how will he audit? It’s a shame that Prater has sunk so low that he’s now attacking the State Auditor’s Office and the hard-working public servants who work here, including Cindy Byrd. The only corruption I see is in his lack of scruples and win-at-all-costs, scorched-earth operation.
I guarantee you it doesn’t exist in this agency and I’m proud to defend our record and work.
Gary A. Jones,
Oklahoma State Auditor & Inspector