OKLAHOMA CITY - With less than three weeks before Oklahoma's runoff election, the race for governor has taken a bitter turn between the Republican candidates.
A war of words launched on TV screens across Oklahoma Friday.
The attack ad, funded by a group backing former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, is against Tulsa business owner and Cornett's opponent, Kevin Stitt.
Stitt says he wants the ad removed, but Cornett spokesperson says the allegations are all true.
"Kevin Stitt is spending a lot of money selling himself to voters, but he's not telling the whole truth," the ad says.
Those who wrote it are hoping to keep Stitt out of office by exposing problems with his company, Gateway Mortgage Group.
"One of the worst loan default rates nationwide, double the average. Stitt's company faced big fines in Arkansas, had its license revoked for fraud in Illinois. Worse, Stitt's company was banned from doing business in Georgia," the ad continues.
"First off, Gateway is a hugely successful company," Stitt said when he jumped to his company's defense in a news conference Friday. "This is just typical politicians trying to twist the truth and talking about stuff that happened ten years ago."
He didn't deny the allegations, saying instead that Gateway is licensed in 41 states and can do business in all 50.
"We've paid minor fractions in a couple states over the years," Stitt said.
Stitt is blaming the ad on Cornett's place in the polls.
"The problem is, my opponent is down ten points and he knows he can't win with his liberal track record," Stitt said.
But Cornett's camp isn't buying it and gave the following statement:
"This is not our campaign’s ad, but these allegations about Mr. Stitt are true. Is it true his business committed fraud? Yes. Is it true he’s been kicked out of multiple states? Yes. Is it true he bundled subprime loans? Yes. Did he take Obama’s TARP bailout money? Yes. Oklahomans need to know the truth."
"You can say whatever you want. I know that the people that are behind that campaign have also been donating to his campaign personally," Stitt said.
He is now demanding a clean campaign.
"These kinds of dirty tactics don't work for Oklahomans," Stitt said.
According to online records from the Department of Banking and Finance, Gateway Mortgage Group was banned in the state of Georgia in 2009.
Stitt was also banned from applying for a mortgage, broker's or lender's license in the state for a period of five years but the records don't provide a reason.