Gary Jones hopes third time is a charm
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Published: 26-Jul-2010

By Patrick B. McGuigan

Published: 26-Jul-2010

Gary Jones, the Cache rancher and former state Republican chairman, is hoping his third run as Republican nominee for Auditor and Inspector proves to be a charm.  Jones came within a few thousand votes of victory in both 2002 and 2006. He lost to Jeff McMahon, who went to prison for public corruption in 2008.

“I have the tenacity and attitude to want to change things for the better,” Jones told Andrew Griffin of Oklahoma Watchdog last week. “My moral compass is strong.” Looking ahead to his likely general election campaign against appointed incumbent Auditor Steve Burrage, Jones has jabbed at office remodeling and other Burrage expenses with which he disagrees.

Jones is planning to press government transparency issues in the campaign. Transparency, performance audits and fighting corruption were among his themes as chairman of the state Republican party, where he was in charge when Oklahoma became the only state in the country where every county went for John McCain over Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election.

In June, when he surprised many observers with his decision to run for statewide office again, Jones told CapitolBeatOK, “I ran twice with the chips stacked against me. This year there will be a more equal playing field. He has done some things to improve the office, but on the other hand it would have been hard not to do some things to improve the office. I know I have the tenaciousness to go after wrongdoing in the state.”

Jones was asked why he would leave the GOP chairman’s post in what looks like a promising year for his party. He replied, “There are a number of people who can do a good job as the party chairman. I talked to my wife, my daughter and son and they encouraged me to run.

“This is an important position, and this is an important year. I believe I am uniquely qualified to do this job.”

Opposing Jones in the primary is David Hanigar of Edmond, a former Democrat and former employee of the auditor’s and attorney general’s office.

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