Regardless of who wins the Oklahoma County clerk’s race, the animosity between the two candidates isn’t likely to subside.
County Clerk Carolynn Caudill and her opponent, Stan Inman, have a long history going back to Inman’s time as District 3 Commissioner.
Caudill was no fan of Inman’s predecessor, Stuart Earnest, and the two started off well enough after Inman won the commissioner’s seat in 2002. But their relationship deteriorated quickly once Inman took office.
The two clashed over Caudill’s desire to share software with other county clerks in the state, and as is common in county politics, the professional disagreement quickly became personal.
Caudill and Inman repeatedly sparred verbally at public meetings. The animosity only got worse when Inman and District 2 Commissioner Brent Rinehart decided to disband the county budget board, made up of all eight elected county officials, and put the budgeting responsibility in the hands of commissioners.
Caudill supported Ray Vaughn, a former state legislator, when he challenged Inman in the 2006 election. Vaughn won the seat easily.
When Inman decided to challenge Caudill for her job this year, not surprisingly, the campaign turned negative relatively quickly. Inman accused Caudill of releasing sensitive personal information of county property holders on her Web site, claimed she rarely showed up for work and cited a critical auditor’s report.
Caudill responded by calling Inman a liar and a “desperate man trying to deflect attention from his poor record as a county commissioner.”
So far, Caudill holds a lead over Inman.
– Bryan Dean