West Virginia Auditor Glen Gainer III is being challenged for his seat by Republican Larry Faircloth.
- Gainer, 52, is a Democrat seeking election to a sixth term in office in 2012.
He is a Parkersburg native and a graduate of the University of Charleston.
After college, he managed a Wendy's restaurant before going on to work four years in the state treasurer's office. He moved on to the state Department of Energy for three years, and spent one year with the John Deere Co. before being elected auditor. He succeeded his father, Glen Gainer II, who served as auditor from 1977 to 1993.
Gainer said his experience sets him apart from Faircloth.
"I have served now for 20 years in the office. I think I have by far the greatest understanding not only of the office and how it works, but I also think I'm the right person to lead it as we move into the future - particularly in light of the implementation of not only a new statewide accounting system, but also a new human resources and payroll system and replacing the Department of Transportation's financial systems, he said."
His background in the private sector also is a plus.
"Going into this office, I had the opportunity to serve seven years on the other side as a user - the last three as the budget director for the Department of (Environmental Protection.) So I got to see how government works on both sides of the equation."
- Faircloth, 64, of Berkeley County served in the West Virginia House Of Delegates from 1980-2004. He served on the following committees: judiciary; finance; rules; banking and insurance; and special investigations.
He attended Shepherd College, and holds a West Virginia real estate license. He has been the president of Larry V. Faircloth Realty since 1976.
"I will bring new ideas and a fresh face to the Auditor's Office," he said. "Nine out of 10 West Virginians do not understand what the Auditor's Office does. The most frequent question asked to me during this campaign is, "What does the auditor do?"
"My opponent, and his father before him, have held this office for 36 years, so it has become politics as usual. I offer the voters a new choice to ensure the transparency of the auditing process, with a commitment to make those audits fully public to the press and citizens of our state in a user-friendly way so that anyone can see where their tax dollars are being spent."
Along with a new face, he said his years in the Legislature and as a businessman prepared him for the post.
"With my 24 years of legislative experience, especially serving on special investigations, and my 36 years of business experience - in managing people, reviewing and paying bills, addressing overhead, and making payroll - I understand the workings of state government," he said. "Moreover, I have a firm knowledge of the role of the auditor's office, as well as all other state and local agencies that it is assigned to audit."