CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Both men running for state Auditor hope to keep the state up-to-date with the latest technologies to help make government as transparent and accountable as possible.
"That's what keeps the state honest, is transparency," incumbent Democrat Glen Gainer said.
"Whoever holds that office ought to be totally on top of the technology that's in place and out there today," Republican Larry Faircloth said.
Gainer, who is finishing his fifth term, met with the Daily Mail editorial board Monday to discuss the race. Faircloth, a former member of the House of Delegates from Martinsburg, could not attend due to a death in the family. He was interviewed by phone later Monday.
The two are running for an office they admit isn't as high-profile or as well understood as others in state government.
The state Constitution says no money shall leave the state treasury unless it has been approved by the state auditor. In addition to serving as the gatekeeper of public spending, the auditor serves on the commissions or boards for a host of state agencies.
Duties range from serving as state securities commissioner, as its land commissioner, as its Social Security commissioner and as its chief inspector - responsible for auditing local government agencies statewide.
Gainer was first elected in 1992. He succeeded his father, Glen Gainer II, who had held the job since 1977.
Gainer, 52, said as his father prepared to step down, he didn't consider running for the job right away.
At the time he was an executive with John Deere Inc., covering the company's West Virginia service area. He said he filed late in the primary season after several people encouraged him to run.
"I had no intention of running for auditor, was very satisfied with my new career path," Gainer said. "People said you were the only person who could run to make a competitive race.
"In hindsight, I love what I've done for the past 20 years," he said.
Faircloth, a candidate in last year's special Republican gubernatorial primary, said he decided to get into the race this year because no one was stepping up to oppose Gainer.
"I think all offices on the ballot should be challenged," Faircloth said. "I think all too often we have people run for office because they've not been challenged.
"I believe voters should have a choice," he said.
Faircloth represented the Eastern Panhandle in the House of Delegates from 1980 to 2004. During that time he served on the House Finance, Judiciary and Rules committees and also on the Legislature's Joint Commission on Special Investigations.