Results show incumbent trailing the challenger in the race for State Auditor, a position with an unusual history. Results from the most recent SoonerPoll find current State Auditor Steve Burrage trailing by a large margin to Oklahoma GOP Chairman Gary Jones.
Jones who filed to run against Burrage on June 9, leads with 41.2 percent of respondents saying they would vote for him if the election were held today, compared to only 21.7 percent who would vote for Burrage.
“Gary Jones has run this race twice before, and very nearly won both times,” Keith Gaddie, Vice President of SoonerPoll, said. “Auditor Burrage enjoys favorable recognition among active Democrats, but as an appointive incumbent with no prior experience on a statewide ballot, his numbers are necessarily trailing a prominent and visible Republican.”
SoonerPoll.com conducted the scientific study using live interviewers by telephone of 420 likely voters from May 25 – June 8, 2010. The study has a margin of error of ± 4.8 percent.
Jones, the longest serving GOP chairman in Oklahoma history, was chairman when the Republicans took charge of both the Oklahoma House of Representative and the Oklahoma State Senate for the first time in history in 2004 and 2008 respectively.
Jones announced his resignation from the chairman position for the second time last Friday. Jones resigned from the chairman position in 2006 when he first filed for the State Auditor race.
Jones has run for the office of State Auditor twice before, he was defeated in both the 2002 and 2006 election by Burrage’s predecessor Democrat Jeff McMahan. Jones is both a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Fraud Examiner.
McMahan was replaced by Burrage after he resigned in 2008 amid allegations of corruption, for which he and his wife were later convicted. McMahan is currently serving an eight year prison sentence in a Memphis, Tenn. correctional facility.
Burrage, who has never appeared on the ballot before, was Governor Brad Henry’s appointment to replace McMahan in July of 2008. In a campaign event last June, Burrage announced that he would seek another term in the 2010 election, stating “I have things going on that we need to continue, and I think I am the right guy to do it.” Burrage is a Certified Public Accountant.
One other candidate filed to run in this election, but was not polled as SoonerPoll did not foresee that he would file to run when polling began. David Hanigar, a certified public accountant from Edmond, worked for state Auditor and Inspector’s Office for 24 years, most often handling multi-grand jury investigations.
Hanigar began working full time for the Attorney General in July of 2009, before switching party affiliations in October 2009 and retiring in April of this year.