By Dave Jordan, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Accusations are flying in a state race after two local candidates running for Corporation Commission are the targets of attacks.
This race started with each candidate running ads touting their experience. But the tone of the campaign changed after Democrat Jim Roth released an ad raising questions about the ethics of his Republican opponent Dana Murphy.
"Dana Murphy admitted under oath to forgery," claims one of Jim Roth's advertisements.
Murphy came out swinging Wednesday afternoon calling the ad desperate, with the intent of distracting the public from Roth's lack of experience.
"My opponent is bringing up allegations from a divorce proceeding 15 years ago because he can't match my qualifications for this office," Murphy said.
At issue is a lucrative oil and gas lease. Murphy admitted to signing her father-in-law's name and then notarizing the document. It happened 15 years ago in the midst of a divorce from her former husband Bryan Crowley. But she maintains she did nothing wrong.
"There was never any intent for forgery or anything like that at all. But as far as that aspect, I'm not going to deny that," Murphy said. "The bottom line is, I have not been charged with or convicted of forgery or any other crime.
News 9 Legal Analyst Irven Box looked over the documents.
"The fact that she wasn't charged with a crime or wasn't convicted of a crime doesn't lessen the facts that based upon the facts presented to me, it was a forgery," Box said.
Roth stands by the ad, which he doesn't perceive as negative.
"Perhaps it's negative to her because the truth is so painful to her," Roth said. "I think forging an oil and gas lease is pretty relevant as to whether or not you have the ethics to be a Corporation Commissioner."
But Roth, who is openly gay, has also been the target of less than favorable political ads.
Postcards sent to prospective voters trumpet his endorsement from the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender movement, his sponsorship of the city's Gay Pride Parade and his alleged support of children having access to gay-themed books at local libraries.
Murphy said her campaign had nothing to do with the postcards, and she has denounced those campaign tactics.
But political analyst Scott Mitchell said now that this race is a virtual dead heat, you can expect to see more of the same.
"The one was too important, especially because of what's happening in the oil patch and what happened in the past year," Mitchell said.
Mitchell is referring to the fluctuation oil and gas prices in Oklahoma and nationally. Mitchell said there are several public policy issues voters are keeping an eye on.
The Republican Party Chairman said Roth has also violated ethics rules by handing out campaign material at his state office, which is forbidden. Roth said a receptionist mistakenly gave out a campaign card.