Drew Edmondson

Last updated

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 of Muskogee County, Oklahoma
In office
1983 April 1, 1992
Preceded by Mike Turpen
Succeeded byJohn David Luton
Member of the OklahomaHouseofRepresentatives
from the 13th district
In office
January 7, 1975 January 4, 1977
Preceded byGeorge A. Miller
Succeeded by Jim Barker
Personal details
William Andrew Edmondson

(1946-10-12) October 12, 1946 (age 74)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political party Democratic
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)
Website Campaign website
Military service
AllegianceFlag of the United States.svg  United States
Branch/serviceFlag of the United States Navy (official).svg  United States Navy
Years of service1968–1972
Battles/wars Vietnam War

William Andrew Edmondson (born October 12, 1946) [2] 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 district attorney for Muskogee County, Oklahoma, from 1983 to 1995. He was defeated twice in campaigns for U.S. Congress in Oklahoma's 2nd congressional district, where his father Ed Edmondson served from 1953 to 1973.


Edmondson was defeated twice in statewide races for Governor of Oklahoma. In 2010, Edmondson was defeated by Jari Askins in an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic Party nomination for Governor. 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. [3]

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. [4]


From 1968 to 1972, Edmondson served in the United States Navy including a year of duty during the Vietnam War. [5] 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, serving under District Attorney Mike Turpen.

Following a brief stint in private practice with his brother James E. Edmondson, when incumbent District Attorney 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. [6]

1992 Congressional campaign

Following a loss to Mike Synar in the 1980 election, Edmondson sought the second congressional district seat in the 1992 election. With backing from the National Rifle Association who had turned against incumbent Congressman Mike Synar, [7] Edmondson ran for Oklahoma's 2nd congressional district. [8] 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 [9] 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 [10] Edmondson finished with 38% to Synar's 43% in the primary election, forcing a runoff [11] that Synar won with 53%. [12]

In the 1992 campaign for Oklahoma's 2nd congressional district, incumbent Congressman 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. [13] The specific case that commanded the most attention was that of Donald Lee Robertson who initially agreed to plead guilty to raping his ten-year-old cousin and received a two-year suspended sentence by Judge Jim Edmondson, Drew's brother. The light sentence became an issue and despite the questionable legality of reopening the case Robertson was persuaded to withdraw his plea and was put on trial, eventually being sentenced to 70 years in prison where he remains today. [14] [15]

Attorney general

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. [16] 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 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 then-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. [17] [18]

In October 2007, Edmondson charged 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. [19] In December 2008 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit struck down the underlying Oklahoma law that barred out-of-state petition circulators, ruling that it violated the First Amendment. The Attorney General's office dismissed the charges against Jacob and the other defendants in January 2009, 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." [20]

Edmondson was elected to a fourth term in the 2006 election, running against Republican James Dunn. 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." [21]

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. [22] Polling had Edmondson in a significant lead over Johnson for the primary. [23] On June 26, 2018 Edmondson won the Democratic nomination over Johnson, 61%–39%. [24] On November 6, 2018, he lost to Republican nominee and Tulsa businessman Kevin Stitt.

Personal life

While a college student, Edmondson married Linda Larason of Fargo, Oklahoma. The couple have two children.

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.

Electoral history

Attorney General elections

Oklahoma Attorney General election, 1994 Democratic primary [25]
Democratic Drew Edmondson 253,058 61.13
Democratic L. Fred Collins87,09121.04
Democratic John B. Nicks73,81917.83
Total votes413,968 100.0
Oklahoma Attorney General election, 1994 [26]
Democratic Drew Edmondson 507,039 52.16%
Republican Mike Hunter 465,03147.84%
Total votes972,800 100.0
Oklahoma Attorney General election, 2002 [27]
Democratic Drew Edmondson 615,932 60.10%
Republican Denise Bode 408,83339.90%
Total votes1,024,765 100.0
Oklahoma Attorney General election, 2006 [28]
Democratic Drew Edmondson 563,364 61.19%
Republican Jim Dunn357,26738.81%
Total votes920,631 100.0

Gubernatorial elections

2010 Oklahoma gubernatorial election Democratic primary results [29]
Democratic Jari Askins 132,591 50.28
Democratic Drew Edmondson131,09749.72
Total votes263,688 100.00
2018 Oklahoma gubernatorial election Democratic primary [30]
Democratic Drew Edmondson 242,764 61.4
Democratic Connie Johnson 152,73038.6
Total votes395,494 100.0

Edmondson Family

The Edmondson family is well known for running for office and election participation within their families in Oklahoma political history. [31]

Drew Edmondson is the son of Ed Edmondson, a former U.S. congressman from Oklahoma who served 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. [32] In November 1998, Sarah Edmondson was sentenced to 35-years in prison for her role in the crime spree. [33] On May 14, 2010, she was released on parole in Oklahoma. [34]

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  1. https://twitter.com/DrewForOklahoma/status/1047309267336933376
  2. "2018 Oklahoma Candidate Declaration Forms" (PDF). 2018. p. 51. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  3. Denwalt, Dale (May 1, 2017). "Drew Edmondson announces run for Oklahoma governor". The Oklahoman . Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  4. Campus website for the Phi Sigma Kappa chapter at NSU Archived December 20, 2016, at the Wayback Machine , accessed December 17, 2016.
  5. "About Drew." Campaign Website. Retrieved 10-13-09. Archived July 10, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  6. "Edmondson Resign DA's Post to Run for Congress". The Oklahoman. April 1, 1992. Retrieved July 8, 2018.
  7. "How The NRA Uses Its Political Clout: An Early Lesson In Oklahoma".
  8. "Edmondson Resigns DA's Post to Run for Congress". April 1, 1992.
  9. "Synar, Edmondson Slugging It Out". August 16, 1992.
  10. Martindale, Rob (April 19, 1992). "Over Objections, Edmondson Films Debate". Tulsa World. p. B1.
  11. https://www.ok.gov/elections/documents/1992_RESULTS.pdf
  12. "Synar Takes Edmondson In District 2". September 16, 1992.
  13. https://www.tulsaworld.com/archives/edmondson-synar-debate-heated/article_4a0494e1-c1e1-5db0-b3e6-b60277105a11.html =}}
  14. https://newsok.com/article/2387786/70-year-sentence-given-in-campaign-issue-case
  15. "Tulsa World". March 19, 1992.
  16. "1998 General Election Official Results" (PDF). 1998. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  17. https://newsok.com/article/2746562/independent-inquiry-sought-in-chemist-case
  18. https://newsok.com/article/1056710/gilchrist-faces-more-scrutiny
  19. "Out of State Petition Circulators May Be Out Of Luck This Time." Archived July 29, 2012, at archive.today The Edmond Sun, October 8, 2007. Retrieved 10-13-09
  20. "Oklahoma won't appeal initiative petition ruling.". Daily Oklahoman, January 22, 2009
  21. [ dead link ]
  22. "Democratic Leader Scott Inman will resign, leave governor's race". October 25, 2017.
  23. http://kwtv.images.worldnow.com/library/2d195dab-904d-43f9-9308-11183d7be382.pdf
  24. "State Election Results, Statewide Primary Election, June 26, 2018". www.ok.gov.
  25. "1994 Primary Results" (PDF). 1994. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  26. "1994 General Election results" (PDF). 1994. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  27. "2002 General Election" (PDF). 2002. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  28. "2006 General Election Results" (PDF). 2006. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  29. "2010 Primary Election Results". 2010. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  30. "2018 Primary Election Results". June 26, 2018. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  31. "Former Oklahoma AG Edmondson announces bid for governor". AP NEWS. May 1, 2017. Retrieved November 5, 2018.
  32. Ahrens, Frank (September 10, 1995). "Cold Blood". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 5, 2018.
  33. Writer, Linda Martin World Staff. "Judge's daughter sentenced in shooting". Tulsa World. Retrieved November 5, 2018.
  34. "Oklahoma Supreme Court justice's daughter released from prison". NewsOK.com. May 19, 2010. Retrieved November 5, 2018.
Legal offices
Preceded by
Susan B. Loving
Attorney General of Oklahoma
Succeeded by
Scott Pruitt
Party political offices
Preceded by
Joe Dorman
Democratic nominee for Governor of Oklahoma
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