|16th Attorney General of Oklahoma|
January 9, 1995 – January 10, 2011
|Preceded by||Susan B. Loving|
|Succeeded by||Scott Pruitt|
|District Attorney for Muskogee County|
1983 – April 1, 1992
|Preceded by||Mike Turpen|
|Succeeded by||John David Luton|
William Andrew Edmondson
October 12, 1946
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Linda Larason (m. 1967)
|Relatives||Ed Edmondson (Father)|
J. Howard Edmondson (Uncle)
James E. Edmondson (Brother)
|Education||Northeastern State University (BA)|
University of Tulsa (JD)
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1968–1972|
William Andrew Edmondson (born October 12, 1946) is an American lawyer and politician from the state of Oklahoma. A member of the Democratic Party, Edmondson served as the 16th Attorney General of Oklahoma from 1995 to 2011. Prior to his election as state attorney general, he served as the district attorney for Muskogee County, Oklahoma, from 1983 to 1995. He was defeated twice in campaigns for U.S. Congress in Oklahoma's second congressional district, which was held by his father Ed Edmondson from 1953-1973.
Edmondson was defeated twice in the statewide races for Governor. In 2010, Edmondson was defeated by Jari Askins in an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic Party nomination for Governor of Oklahoma. Following his service as attorney general, he joined the Oklahoma City law office of Riggs Abney. He was the Democratic nominee for Governor in 2018 and was defeated by Republican nominee Kevin Stitt in the general election.
Early life and career
Drew Edmondson was born in Washington, D.C. on October 12, 1946, and is the son of former U.S. Congressman Ed Edmondson and June Edmondson. He is also a nephew of former Governor J. Howard Edmondson. His brother, James E. Edmondson is a Justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court. As a child, he grew up in Muskogee, Oklahoma and Washington, D.C. and graduated from Muskogee High School in 1964. In 1968, he earned a B.A. in speech education from Northeastern State University, where he was a member of Phi Sigma Epsilon, now Phi Sigma Kappa Fraternity. While a college student, he married Linda Larason of Fargo, Oklahoma. The couple have two children.
From 1968 to 1972, Edmondson served in the United States Navy including a year of duty in Vietnam. From 1975 to 1977, he served one term in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. He graduated from the University of Tulsa Law School in 1978. That same year, he joined the Muskogee County District Attorney's Office as an intern and became an Assistant District Attorney the following year. While with the Office, Edmondson worked under District Attorney Mike Turpen.
Following a brief stint in private practice with his brother, when incumbent DA Mike Turpen stepped down to run for Attorney General of Oklahoma, Edmondson was elected as Muskogee County District Attorney in 1982. He was subsequently reelected without opposition in 1986 and 1990. As District Attorney, he personally prosecuted cases ranging from DUI to death penalty. He resigned in 1992, halfway through his third term, to run for Congress.
1992 Congressional campaign
In a rematch from the 1980's defeat by Synar, Edmondson sought the second congressional seat. With backing from the National Rifle Association who had turned against incumbent Rep. Mike Synar, Edmondson ran for Oklahoma's 2nd congressional district. After a heated campaign during which Synar criticized Edmondson for being soft on crime and for taking PAC money not just from the NRA but also from Big Tobacco and from out-of-state ranchers and Edmondson accused Synar of being ineffective on state economic problems and out of touch with his district as exemplified by his vote against authorizing the death penalty for drug dealers Edmondson finished with 38% to Synar's 43% in the primary election, forcing a runoff that Synar won with 53%.
In the 1992 campaign for Oklahoma second congressional district, Incumbent Rep. Mike Synar charged that Edmondson "was not a good District Attorney" and Muskogee County under Edmondson had given 90 convicted sex offenders no jail time.
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Edmondson was elected as Oklahoma Attorney General in 1994. During his first term, he joined other state attorneys general in filing suit against the tobacco industry, successfully advocated for reform of the death penalty appeals process, and created a victim assistance unit. In 1998, he became the second Oklahoma Attorney General to win reelection unopposed. He was elected to a third term in 2002, defeating state Corporation Commissioner Denise Bode. During 2002-2003, he served as President of the National Association of Attorneys General. Notable cases investigated during his tenure as Attorney General have included the August 2003 indictment of WorldCom and its former CEO Bernard Ebbers on charges of violating state securities laws although the charges were later dropped following Ebbers's federal sentencing. Furthermore, he conducted a corruption investigation against now-former State Insurance Commissioner Carroll Fisher, which resulted in Fisher's impeachment, resignation, and indictment on charges including embezzlement, tax evasion, perjury, and bribery.
In 2001, Edmondson became involved in a legal dispute with then-Governor Frank Keating over the Governor's restructuring of his Cabinet, winning a state Supreme Court ruling that Keating had no authority to restructure his Cabinet without legislative approval in the case of Keating v. Edmondson.
When Oklahoma City Police Department chemist Joyce Gilchrist was accused of falsifying evidence in hundreds of cases, Attorney General Edmondson was asked to appoint independent counsel to investigate and refused to do so. In addition to having defended her work in appeals proceedings prior to the scandal, he made the decision that most of the death-penalty cases that depended upon her testimony did not need additional review.
Following the 2002 federal appeals court decision declaring the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional, he joined several other state attorneys general in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision. Drew Edmondson's legal activities have not been limited to Oklahoma - they have reached as far away as New Jersey. He decided to support a New Jersey lawsuit in 2000 against the Boy Scouts of America, in an attempt to require the Boy Scouts to accept homosexual scout leaders. The Supreme Court ruled against Edmondson's position, ruling that the Boys Scouts of America had the authority to set the criteria for leadership within their organization.
In October 2007, Edmondson indicted term limits and initiative rights activist Paul Jacob and two others on the grounds that they had illegally used out-of-state petitioners to collect signatures on a ballot initiative. On December 18, 2008 the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the underlying Oklahoma law that barred out of state petition circulators, noting that it was in violation of the First Amendment. Edmondson appealed the decision on behalf of Secretary of State Susan Savage. On January 21, 2009 the Tenth Circuit court denied the state's appeal, effectively ending the case. The Attorney General's office dismissed the charges against Jacob and the other defendants, with Edmondson saying "The statute under which these defendants were charged has been declared unconstitutional, and the appellate process is complete...The statute is no longer enforceable." on January 22, 2009. The indictment of Jacob drew criticism for being politically motivated. 2008 independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader referred to the laws such as the one Jacob was charged with breaking as “Jim Crow laws,” adding, “We’ve seen this before against African Americans. The Wall Street Journal editorialized against the prosecution twice, calling it "bizarre". Edmondson was elected to a fourth term in the 2006 election, running against Republican James Dunn. During that campaign he was criticized for accepting campaign donations from special interests, out-of-state lawyers, and notoriously corrupt former State Senator and convicted felon Gene Stipe. He did not seek reelection to a fifth term in 2010, choosing instead to run for Governor and eventually losing in the primary to Lt. Gov. Jari Askins. Due to term limits passed in a statewide referendum in 2010, Edmondson's record of 16 years in office as Oklahoma State Attorney General will most likely be unbroken.
2010 gubernatorial election
Edmondson announced on June 10, 2009 his candidancy for Governor of Oklahoma. On July 27, 2010 Lieutenant Governor Jari Askins "edged Attorney General Drew Edmondson in the Democratic primary by fewer than six-tenths of 1 percent — about 1,500 votes — with all but three of the state's 2,244 precincts reporting unofficial results." "Edmondson threw his support to Askins in a concession speech that resolved a tightly run contest.
In the speech, Edmondson stated, "To her credit and mine, this primary has been one on the issues, on the record, clean, positive, straightforward. ... I think it will be written down in the history books as a testament to both Jari Askins and Drew Edmondson that the Democratic Party comes out of this primary united and unfractured and ready to win this state."
2018 gubernatorial election
On May 1, 2017 Edmondson announced his second run for Governor of Oklahoma. In the Democratic primary he initially faced competition from state house minority leader Scott Inman, and former state senator Connie Johnson. However, on October 25 Inman dropped out of the race, leaving Edmondson and Johnson as the two candidates. Polling had Edmondson in a significant lead over Johnson for the primary. On June 26, 2018 Edmondson won the Democratic nomination over Johnson, 61%–39%. On November 6, 2018, he lost to Republican nominee and Tulsa businessman Kevin Stitt.
Awards and honors
On March 6, 2009 Edmondson was honored by his alma mater Northeastern State University with a 100 Centurion award. This award was given to 100 individuals that have had a positive impact on the NSU community in the last 100 years.
Attorney General elections
|Democratic||L. Fred Collins||87,091||21.04|
|Democratic||John B. Nicks||73,819||17.83|
The Edmondsons are well known for running for office and election participation within their families in Oklahoma political history.
Drew Edmondson is the son of Ed Edmondson, a former U.S. congressman who served in the House from 1952 to 1972; the nephew of J.Howard Edmondson, a former Oklahoma governor and U.S. Senator who served in Oklahoma politics from 1954 to 1964; and the brother of James E. Edmondson, a current Justice on the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
In 1995, Edmondson’s niece, Sarah Edmondson participated in a “Natural Born Killers” copycat crime spree with her boyfriend, Benjamin James Darras. The couple committed murder and robbery in Mississippi, and a robbery and attempted murder in Louisiana. In November 1998, Sarah Edmondson was sentenced to 35-years in prison for her role in the crime spree. On May 14, 2010, she was released on parole in Oklahoma.
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- Campus website for the Phi Sigma Kappa chapter at NSU Archived December 20, 2016, at the Wayback Machine., accessed December 17, 2016.
- "About Drew." Campaign Website. Retrieved 10-13-09. Archived July 10, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Edmondson Resign DA's Post to Run for Congress". The Oklahoman. April 1, 1992. Retrieved July 8, 2018.
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- "Synar Takes Edmondson In District 2". September 16, 1992.
- https://www.tulsaworld.com/archives/edmondson-synar-debate-heated/article_4a0494e1-c1e1-5db0-b3e6-b60277105a11.html =}}
- "1998 General Election Official Results" (PDF). 1998. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
- "Boy Scouts of America v. Dale".
- "Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, 530 U.S. 640, 4 (2000) - United States Supreme Court". law.onecle.com.
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- "Statement from Tenth Circuit Court"[dead link]
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- "Oklahoma's Most Wanted", Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2007
- [dead link]
- "Democratic Leader Scott Inman will resign, leave governor's race". October 25, 2017.
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- "1994 Primary Results" (PDF). 1994. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
- "1994 General Election results" (PDF). 1994. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
- "2002 General Election" (PDF). 2002. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
- "2006 General Election Results" (PDF). 2006. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
- "2010 Primary Election Results". 2010. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
- "2018 Primary Election Results". June 26, 2018. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
- "Former Oklahoma AG Edmondson announces bid for governor". AP NEWS. 2017-05-01. Retrieved 2018-11-05.
- Ahrens, Frank (September 10, 1995). "Cold Blood". Washington Post. Archived from the original on September 10, 1995. Retrieved November 5, 2018.
- Writer, Linda Martin World Staff. "Judge's daughter sentenced in shooting". Tulsa World. Retrieved 2018-11-05.
- "Oklahoma Supreme Court justice's daughter released from prison". NewsOK.com. 2010-05-19. Retrieved 2018-11-05.
Susan B. Loving
| Attorney General of Oklahoma
|Party political offices|
| Democratic nominee for Governor of Oklahoma