Friday, June 11, 2010
Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Gary Jones, who filed to run for State Auditor on Wednesday, is stepping down from his position with the party in order to run his campaign.
Perhaps part of the impetus for Jones' decision to run was that a survey conducted by SoonerPoll found Jones leading Democrat incumbent Steve Burrage 41.2% to 21.7%, with 37.1% undecided (4.8% margin of error).
Jones, who ran for Auditor in 2002 and 2006, losing by narrow margins to Democrat Jeff McMahan (who is now in jail for illegal contributions, bribes, and conspiracy charges), has been perhaps the most successful state chairman the Oklahoma GOP has ever seen. Under his guidance, Republicans took the State House, the State Senate, and placed among the top five most Republican states in the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections.
A replacement will be elected by the GOP's State Committee (comprised of county and state party officers, and elected public officials) at a June 26th meeting. Rumored to be in the running are Matt Pinnell, a past OKGOP Executive Director and currently with American Majority Oklahoma, and Steve Fair, a long-time party activist from Stephens County.