With just four days left until the election, Radio Iowa’s “Campaign Countdown” series focuses on another of the statewide races on the 2010 ballot. Delegates at the Iowa Democratic Party’s state convention nominated a candidate to face Republican State Auditor Dave Vaudt on this fall’s ballot. O. Kay Henderson reports: Auditor 2:36 MP3

Republican Dave Vaudt is a certified public accountant who worked at a central Iowa accounting firm for more than two decades before he was elected state auditor in 2002. Vaudt was reelected in 2006 and he’s seeking a third term in 2010.

“I’ve traveled the state extensively over the last several years to inform and educate Iowans about our finances in a clear and understandable way,” Vaudt said recently on Iowa Public Television. “…I have continually reminded our elected officials: there is no such thing as government money, there’s only your money — taxpayer money.”

Jon Murphy is the Democrat who’s challenging Vaudt this fall. Murphy says Vaudt’s endorsement of Republican gubernatorial candidate Terry Branstad in May and Vaudt’s travels with Branstad on a “truth in budgeting” tour are what motivated him to jump in the race.

“I think that showed extremely poor judgment given former Governor Branstad’s record of keeping two sets of books,” Murphy said this past June. “And I think that that kind of judgment needs to be replaced in the auditor’s office.” Vaudt, in turn, has criticized Murphy for not being a C.P.A., and Vaudt often points out his Democratic opponent has been an employee of Governor Chet Culver. Murphy has taken a leave of absence from his job as director of the Iowa Office for State-Federal Relations to run for auditor.

Both Culver and Murphy have criticized Vaudt for failing to issue a full review of state accounts based on generally accepted accounting principles. Murphy says that endangers the state’s credit rating. Vaudt says the budget cuts forced upon his office are to blame.

 “I think it’s a little disingenuous for someone to act surprised,” Vaudt said earlier this month. “We advance-warned the legislature — all 150 elected representatives and senators — and my opponent’s boss that a severe cut of 34 percent to our appropriation would probably lead to a qualified opinion.”

Murphy has also questioned whether Vaudt delayed until this week the release of an audit of the state film office in order to embarrass Culver. “And believe me, the number one thing my opponent wants to do is score political points,” Murphy said this week during a speech in Ames. “He’s been the single-most politically-motivated state auditor we’ve had in this state in recent history and it’s time for that to stop.”

During an interview with Radio Iowa on Tuesday, Vaudt defended the timing of the audit’s release. “We went through boxes and boxes and boxes of financial records in order to do this (audit) because there were 22 films and over $64 million worth of costs that were submitted,” Vaudt said. The audit concluded about 80 percent of the state tax credits issued to film and TV productions were improper.