BY MICHAEL MCNUTT
Published: August 7, 2010A 12-year-old commercial, in which Oklahoma's senior U.S. senator speaks favorably of former Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Crawford, aired by mistake, a Cox Communications spokeswoman said Friday. "It looks like human error, so it was our fault," Christine Martin said. "It just ran a couple times."John Doak, Crawford's GOP opponent in the Aug. 24 primary runoff election, issued a news release Friday criticizing Crawford for airing the ad.He said Crawford recycled the commercial to mislead voters.Crawford said he never intended for the ad to run and didn't know it aired until Mark Croucher, another GOP candidate who failed to advance after last week's primary election, told him about it."It was just an error on their part, and that's all I can say," Crawford said. "I don't think it hurt anything because I don't think it showed more than two or three times."
Martin said the mistake occurred when Crawford came to Cox and brought along a copy of a 1998 TV ad in which Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, endorsed Crawford for insurance commissioner. Crawford brought the ad along to see about getting a similar ad, without the endorsement, produced.After the meeting, someone at Cox misunderstood what had been discussed, and thinking the 1998 ad was an actual ad, set it up to play during cable television programming, Martin said.The mistake was caught in a short time, she said, and letters explaining what had happened were sent to Crawford and to Inhofe.Doak used his news release to bring up again that Crawford, elected insurance commissioner in 1994, was the target of an investigation by the FBI before losing his bid in 1998 to be re-elected as insurance commissioner.Crawford never was charged with a crime.As far as Inhofe is concerned, a spokesman said the senator avoids making endorsements before Republican voters select their nominees."Senator Inhofe has a policy of not endorsing (candidates) in the primary season," said Jared Young, Inhofe's communications director. "Once the primary is over, then he will look at who is in the race and consider who, if anyone, he wants to endorse."Crawford won 41.7 percent of the votes in the July 27 primary in a three-candidate race. Doak finished second with 39.1 percent and Croucher won 19.2 percent.