Treasurer and auditor races to appear on Nov. 6 ballot
Republican candidates for state treasurer and auditor have amassed huge campaign funding advantages as they seek to hold off independent and Libertarian candidates in the Nov. 6 general election.
In the race for state treasurer, Republican Randy McDaniel of Edmond has raised more than $320,000, compared to less than $34,000 for independent candidate Charles de Coune of Oklahoma City.
In the auditor and inspector's race, Republican Cindy Byrd of Coalgate has received more than $146,000 in contributions, compared to less than $5,000 for Libertarian John Yeutter of Tahlequah.
All fundraising figures were as of Oct. 22.
The candidates are seeking to replace State Treasurer Ken Miller and State Auditor Gary Jones, who are term limited.
De Coune, 46, said he knows the challenges that an independent candidate faces and hadn't planned on running for treasurer until he saw that State Rep. McDaniel was seeking the post.
As a state lawmaker, McDaniel was one of the architects of plans that revamped the state's troubled teacher and state employee retirement systems.
McDaniel, 51, has described the changes he advocated as reforms that were needed to protect the solvency of the systems, but de Coune said he believes the changes McDaniel pushed have harmed the state.
"My opponent nipping at teachers' and workers' benefits for the past 12 years has been very damaging to the economy and, frankly, that is what not only has pushed teachers to go to Texas and Arkansas, but also has prevented companies from coming to Oklahoma," de Coune said.
"My goal has been to help ensure the benefits that have been promised will be fulfilled for all the dedicated public employees who have earned them," McDaniel said. "In the past, the pension systems were in financial trouble. I led an effort to implement reasonable reforms, many of which were passed with bipartisan support. Today, the pension systems are stronger and better funded than at any point in the past decade."
For the past seven years, de Coune has served as lending manager/comptroller for the Oklahoma Water Resources Board. Prior to that, he worked 12 years for MidFirst Bank. He also has served as chief operating officer for an Oklahoma City charter school.
McDaniel has been a state representative for 12 years and has served as chairman of the House Banking Committee. He has worked 20 years as a financial adviser, working with both individual and institutional investors.
Yeutter, the Libertarian candidate in the state auditor's race, is a 64-year-old accounting instructor at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah.
"The main issue for an auditor always is independence, accountability and transparency in government," Yeutter said. "I think I'm unique in that I have been outside the political system. I'm not tied to the Democrats or the Republicans."
Yeutter said he chose to be a Libertarian because he sees it as a "call for government to be responsible to the individual rather than the individual to be responsible to the government."
"I've always felt that the government is my servant and when they have my money they need to be transparent with it," he said.
Byrd, the Republican candidate in the auditor's race, is currently the deputy state auditor for local government services.
"People should elect me because experience matters and I'm ready to get to work on Day 1," said Byrd, 45. "Everyone is calling for more audits. Taxpayers want it. The candidates for governor want it. Everyone wants more accountability and transparency and that's what I bring to the table.
"There is still a lot of work to be done in the auditor's office," Byrd said. "Gary Jones has done great things during his terms and I will continue to build on that."
Byrd said she looks forward to helping state lawmakers understand the various types of audits that can be done to improve accountability and transparency.