By Ron VandenBoom
Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Mike Cooney, said Wednesday during a campaign swing through Havre that he is thinking about putting out a press release asking his two democratic rivals to back away, take a deep breath, and get back to the issues.
State Auditor Mark O'Keefe and Attorney General Joe Mazurek have been conducting a verbal war since Tuesday after Mazurek criticized O'Keefe for using insurance settlement proceeds to finance TV commercials featuring him providing information on securities and insurance issues.
Mazurek said the legislature is the body with the authority to determine how state agencies spend such funds.
Cooney said the three candidates had tried really hard over the last several months "to behave themselves" and not get personal and not get nasty.
"Now we're starting to slowly see this start to crumble and I don't want to participate in it," he said.
O'Keefe had referred to Mazurek's criticism Tuesday as a "cheap shot" saying it was "an attack on my personal ethics," and adding that he was angry about the attack.
Cooney said the three candidates have been "very proud" of themselves as "three people who have been fairly competitive in the political arena and that were still able to conduct themselves at a higher level than many people ever expected us to."
Cooney said this had worked to everyone's advantage.
"Let's not stop that," he said.