Primary Profiles: Gentner Drummond for Attorney General
OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) —
One of the most controversial primary fights is between the leading Republican candidates for attorney general. While there are three candidates vying for the nomination, two are leading the pack; Attorney General Mike Hunter and Tulsa attorney Gentner Drummond.
Drummond is a political newcomer in Oklahoma, but his ties to the Sooner state run deep. He said the decision to run for office came after he felt the frustration many Oklahomans have experienced with the state of the state.
“We have a decade of failed leadership in Oklahoma,” Drummond said, “We've had cronyism, political patronage and everyone taking care of everyone; and it appears to me the objective of most of our elected officials has been what's my next election or my next appointment.”
“I am tired of watching the state continued to be mismanaged,” Drummond said of his decision to run for Attorney General.
In his pitch to voters, Drummond points to his past both in the U.S. Armed Services and as a businessman and successful attorney.
“Parties and partisanship divide people and we need uniters,” Drummond said. “We need leaders; my entire life has been spent in leadership and development of leadership. I led the first combat mission into the Gulf War; that’s a leader.”
However, his years in the private sector have drawn criticism. Political opposition commercials hit on his work in cases ranging from a past murder trial to lawsuits where Drummond defended banks. Drummond said in each of the cases being used against him, he was doing his job as an attorney vigorously representing his client.
“Those who lose [lawsuits] typically don't like the winners and you have absolutely seen some criticism of me for being a zealous advocate for my client.”
Drummond argues he's lived up to the legal and ethical standards required of a lawyer and would take his lengthy litigation experience to work for the taxpayers. It is a point of difference he said separates him from some of the past leaders of the Attorney General’s office.
“My frustration with the Attorney General's office is we have an absolute lack of transparency and openness and accountability to the citizens.”
Notably, Drummond points to the Tar Creek audit, which former Attorney General Scott Pruitt originally ordered sealed from public eyes.
“But Mr. Hunter continued that [policy] and had to be sued,” Drummond said, “So we had to defend and waste taxpayer dollars and in the end when he realized he couldn't keep it secret any longer he released it but it is coincidentally the day after the seven year statute of limitations ran out.”
Hunter argued the audit was part of an investigative file and that four prosecutors looked over the findings and all decided no crimes were committed. However, he said he ultimately decided to release it because it had become a distraction to his office.
Drummond promises a commitment to open government and that his office will be more about the people and less about politics.
“If you have some faith in our state and want to make a difference,” Drummond said, “Voting for Gentner Drummond will make a difference I assure you.”