Drew Edmondson

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Drew Edmondson
Drewedmondson (cropped).jpg
16th Attorney General of Oklahoma
In office
January 9, 1995 – January 10, 2011
Governor Frank Keating
Brad Henry
Preceded by Susan B. Loving
Succeeded by Scott Pruitt
District Attorney for Muskogee County
In office
1983 – April 1, 1992
Preceded by Mike Turpen
Succeeded by John David Luton
Personal details
Born William Andrew Edmondson
(1946-10-12) October 12, 1946 (age 71)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Linda Larason
Children 2
Relatives Ed Edmondson (Father)
J. Howard Edmondson (Uncle)
James E. Edmondson (Brother)
Education Northeastern State University (BA)
University of Tulsa (JD)
Website Campaign website
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 1968–1972
Battles/wars Vietnam War

William Andrew Edmondson (born October 12, 1946)[1] 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.

In 2010, Edmondson was defeated by Jari Askins in an unsuccessful bid for Governor of Oklahoma. Following his service as attorney general, he joined the Oklahoma City law office of Riggs Abney. He is the Democratic nominee for Governor of Oklahoma in the 2018 gubernatorial election.[2]

Early life and career[edit]

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.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5]

1992 Congressional campaign[edit]

With backing from the National Rifle Association who had turned against incumbent Rep. Mike Synar,[6] Edmondson ran for Oklahoma's 2nd congressional district.[7] 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[8] 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[9] Edmondson finished with 38% to Synar's 43% in the primary election, forcing a runoff[10] that Synar won with 53%.[11]

Attorney general[edit]

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, 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.[12][13]

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.[14] The Supreme Court ruled against Edmondson's position,[15] 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.[16] 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.[17] 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."[18] 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.[19] The Wall Street Journal editorialized against the prosecution twice, calling it "bizarre".[20]

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[21], and notoriously corrupt former State Senator and convicted felon Gene Stipe.[22] 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[edit]

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."[23]

2018 gubernatorial election[edit]

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.[24] Polling had Edmondson in a significant lead over Johnson for the primary. [25] On June 26, 2018 Edmondson won the Democratic nomination over Johnson, 61%–39%.[26] In November, he will face off against the Republican nominee, Tulsa businessman Kevin Stitt, and the Libertarian nominee, Chris Powell.

Awards and honors[edit]

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.

Electoral history[edit]

Oklahoma gubernatorial election, 2018
Oklahoma gubernatorial election, 2018 Democratic primary[27]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Drew Edmondson 242,764 61.4
Democratic Connie Johnson 152,730 38.6
Total votes 395,494 100.0

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2018 Oklahoma Candidate Declaration Forms" (PDF). 2018. p. 51. Retrieved August 3, 2018. 
  2. ^ Denwalt, Dale (May 1, 2017). "Drew Edmondson announces run for Oklahoma governor". The Oklahoman. Retrieved October 6, 2017. 
  3. ^ Campus website for the Phi Sigma Kappa chapter at NSU Archived December 20, 2016, at the Wayback Machine., accessed December 17, 2016.
  4. ^ "About Drew." Campaign Website. Retrieved 10-13-09. Archived July 10, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "Edmondson Resign DA's Post to Run for Congress". The Oklahoman. April 1, 1992. Retrieved July 8, 2018. 
  6. ^ "How The NRA Uses Its Political Clout: An Early Lesson In Oklahoma". 
  7. ^ "Edmondson Resigns DA's Post to Run for Congress". April 1, 1992. 
  8. ^ "Synar, Edmondson Slugging It Out". August 16, 1992. 
  9. ^ Martindale, Rob (April 19, 1992). "Over Objections, Edmondson Films Debate". Tulsa World. p. B1. 
  10. ^ https://www.ok.gov/elections/documents/1992_RESULTS.pdf
  11. ^ "Synar Takes Edmondson In District 2". September 16, 1992. 
  12. ^ https://newsok.com/article/2746562/independent-inquiry-sought-in-chemist-case
  13. ^ https://newsok.com/article/1056710/gilchrist-faces-more-scrutiny
  14. ^ "Boy Scouts of America v. Dale". 
  15. ^ "Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, 530 U.S. 640, 4 (2000) - United States Supreme Court". law.onecle.com. 
  16. ^ "Out of State Petition Circulators May Be Out Of Luck This Time." Archived July 29, 2012, at Archive.is The Edmond Sun, October 8, 2007. Retrieved 10-13-09
  17. ^ "Statement from Tenth Circuit Court"[dead link]
  18. ^ "Oklahoma won't appeal initiative petition ruling.". Daily Oklahoman, January 22, 2009
  19. ^ "YouTube: Ralph Nader on CSPAN" FreePaulJacob.com. Retrieved 10-13-09 Archived January 30, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  20. ^ "Oklahoma's Most Wanted", Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2007
  21. ^ https://cei.org/sites/default/files/Hans%20Bader%20-%20The%20Nation's%20Worst%20State%20Attorneys%20General_0.pdf
  22. ^ https://newsok.com/article/2965388/edmondson-accepts-stipes-donation
  23. ^ [1][dead link]
  24. ^ "Democratic Leader Scott Inman will resign, leave governor's race". October 25, 2017. 
  25. ^ http://kwtv.images.worldnow.com/library/2d195dab-904d-43f9-9308-11183d7be382.pdf
  26. ^ "State Election Results, Statewide Primary Election, June 26, 2018". www.ok.gov. 
  27. ^ [2]

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Susan B. Loving
Attorney General of Oklahoma
1995–2011
Succeeded by
Scott Pruitt
Party political offices
Preceded by
Joe Dorman
Democratic nominee for Governor of Oklahoma
2018
Most recent