In the wake of former Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter’s resignation, The Oklahoman reports that Governor Stitt is carefully considering a replacement for the state’s top legal post.
Some of the potential candidates under consideration may include:
Ryan Leonard is an Oklahoma City attorney who serves as the governor’s special counsel for Native American affairs and remains deeply involved in Stitt’s reaction to last year’s landmark decision in McGirt vs. Oklahoma rendered by the U.S. Supreme Court. Leonard previously worked for former U.S. Sen. Don Nickles. He also served as a prosecutor in Canadian County. He ran for Attorney General in 2010, losing to Scott Pruitt in the Republican primary
Timothy Downing was the legal counsel for Governor Stitt’s secretary of state office until 2019 when President Trump appointed him as U.S. Attorney for the Western District, based in Oklahoma City. Downing resigned after President Joe Biden took office in 2021. He returned to the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office, where he had also worked under former AG Scott Pruitt. Downing served one term in the Oklahoma House of Representatives and decided not to run again in 2018
Tricia Everest currently serves as Stitt’s Secretary of Public Safety. She is a former assistant attorney general and recently chaired the Oklahoma County Jail Trust.
Greg Mashburn has served as District Attorney for Cleveland, Garvin and McClain counties since 2006. Mashburn has been mentioned as potential replacement.
A.J. Ferate, an Oklahoma City attorney active in Oklahoma Republican Party politics who has also served as the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association’s Vice President for Regulatory Affairs
Hunter’s primary runoff opponent in 2018, Gentner Drummond, plans another run for the position in 2022. Drummond spent more than $2 million of personal funds on the 2018 race. It is anticipated that he will provide additional funding for his 2022 campaign run as well.
Rather than appointing a short-term replacement until the 2022 election cycle, Governor Stitt will likely select someone who plans to run for the office to ensure continuity.