Embattled county clerk responds to false endorsement in campaign mailer
OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) —
Oklahoma County Clerk Carolynn Caudill is finally responding days after her campaign sent out a mailer which falsely claimed she was endorsed by former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating.
Caudill, who is seeking re-election says it was her mistake because she did not read the back of the mailer she approved.
Sources with knowledge of the Caudill campaign tell FOX 25 campaign staff believed that endorsement to be legitimate. However, Governor Keating told FOX 25 he had a made it known to Caudill he would not be endorsing her for this election.
The key reason Keating gave Caudill for his decision was that Keating was good friends with David Hooten who was running against Caudill.
Caudill who did not return FOX 25's messages on Friday and was not in her office Friday afternoon or Monday morning sent us a text message statement in which she said:
"The Keating mistake was made because the wrong draft was approved by me while I was out of town at a close friend's funeral Haste makes waste. I made the mistake and I have apologized to Frank Keating. That was supposed to be Leonard Sullivan I had plenty of endorsements but I made the mistake and I take full responsibility for that."
While FOX 25 was reviewing the rest of the endorsements claimed by Caudill, we discovered another man James P. Cates was listed as giving his approval for Caudill's 2016 campaign. Cates died in 2014.
Caudill texted, "Yes I remember when Mr Cates died. I knew most of those gentleman [sic]very well because they work with my office a lot. No I would not of approved anything with his name on it. As I said I failed to look at the backside of the draft I don't know what else to say to you except I made a mistake"
Caudill said she only looked at the front of the mailer which spoke of her "saving tax dollars." However the back of the mailer also includes figures claiming savings to the taxpayer.
Sources tell Fox 25 Caudill not only authorized the mailer, but also made the payment for its printing directly.
With four people running for the office, it is likely the race could go into a runoff if no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote. If this happens, FOX 25 has learned some of Caudill's key campaign staff will not be staying with the campaign.
Again, via text message, Caudill said, "The Keating mistake was made because the wrong draft was approved by me while I was out of town at a close friend's funeral Haste makes waste. I made the mistake and I have apologized to Frank Keating. That was supposed to be Leonard Sullivan I had plenty of endorsements but I made the mistake and I take full responsibility for that."