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Utahns elect first non-CPA as auditor in 40 years

Published November 7, 2012 12:13 am

State elections • Dougall ahead in auditor contest; incumbent Ellis leads for treasurer.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Utah on Tuesday elected its first state auditor in 40 years who is not a certified public accountant. Meanwhile, incumbent GOP State Treasurer Richard Ellis was headed toward winning a second term against Democrat Christopher Stout in early unofficial returns.

John Dougall, a Republican Utah House member and high-tech consultant, was ahead in unofficial returns in the race for state auditor. Neither he nor Democratic opponent Mark Sage is a certified public accountant, nor was Constitution Party candidate Richard Proctor.

The only CPA who had been in the race — 17-year incumbent Republican Auston Johnson — was defeated by Dougall in the party primary.

The race has been bitter between Dougall and Sage, a retired U.S. Air Force program manager.

Dougall said Sage lacked proper financial expertise for the job. Sage said Dougall had a history as a lawmaker of trying to keep government deliberations hidden and is too beholden to like-minded donor-buddies in the Legislature.

However, the pair also sometimes used humor as each claimed they were better at penny-pinching.

Dougall called himself "Frugal Dougall" in ads, and touted that he grew up drinking powdered milk as the oldest in a family of 11 children, and bought his own children a turtle as a pet "because it eats less." Sage, an avid archer, said he could keep spending on target.

ldavidson@sltrib.com