Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Running Scared: Incumbent Burrage Attacks Jones

In a move that clearly indicates he believes he's trailing in the race for the position he holds, Auditor & Inspector Steve Burrage is out with a television commercial attacking his Republican challenger, Gary Jones.

The commercial began airing Monday. It contains decades-old allegations about Jones.

Jones said, "the vicious negative attack ad...is proof Burrage is behind and going to lose. Voters want a state auditor they can trust. You can’t trust Steve Burrage.

"When the truth is told about this ad it shows even more reason why voters should chose me to be their next state auditor. First he implies that I didn’t pay my taxes on my business. This is not true. Every single cent owed has been paid and was paid years ago. Granted as many small businesses experience tough times we were late on some payments choosing to pay our employees and buy inventory to keep the business going. But with hard work we caught up and made it through those tough times.

"Second he accuses me of making false accusations against hospital board members. If it’s true it isn’t a false accusation. An audit from the State Auditor’s office confirmed my claims as did a county grand jury, which indicted several of those board members who refused to testify and took the fifth-amendment instead. I stood up against wrongdoing and my actions helped save our county hospital.

"The third claim is I was thrown out of office. This too is not true. I was not thrown out of office; I was narrowly defeated in my bid to be re-elected after an extremely negative campaign against me paid for in part by those involved in the hospital scandal.

"And last Burrage attacks me over a lawsuit we filed against Gene Stipe, his partner Steve Phipps and others. While I was working to uncover and expose Stipe, Phipps, the former state auditor along with others, Burrage’s brother was Stipe’s lawyer. And to top it off Burrage himself may have been making money on these illegal dealings as the taxpayer’s funds appear to have been funneled through Steve Burrage's bank.

"The last person we need as state auditor is someone who will twist, turn and misrepresent the truth for their own political gain. That’s why I believe Oklahoma voters will reject these negative attacks and vote for me, Gary Jones, to be their next state auditor."

The attack commercial is a high-risk strategy by Burrage; not well known to voters, he runs the risk of defining himself as a political mud-slinger.

Burrage, appointed to the post after then-Auditor Jeff McMahan was convicted on federal felony counts following revelations by Jones, is shown trailing Jones in new polls.

Jones was the GOP nominee for the post in 2002 and 2006; he narrowly lost both races to McMahan.

Jones, meanwhile, posted this video on his website:

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