Filing for state office, which ended last Wednesday, found three candidates filing for the position of Attorney General left open by the incumbent and Governor hopeful.
Current Attorney General Drew Edmondson, who is now serving in his fourth term, is running for Governor and will subsequently be stepping down at the end of his term.
Two Republicans filed for the position and early polling numbers from SoonerPoll show a clear leader in the primary battle. Scott Pruitt received 32.4 percent of respondents support while Ryan Leonard received 9.4 percent.
SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s Public Opinion Pollster, conducted the scientific study using live interviewers by telephone of 324 likely voters from May 25 – June 9, 2010. The study has a margin of error of ± 5.4 percent.
“Leonard was the earliest announced candidate, but that has not translated into substantial support in the GOP primary,” Keith Gaddie, Vice President of SoonerPoll, said.
Pruitt is a constitutional lawyer who served two terms in the state senate before leaving in 2006 to seek the Lieutenant Governor seat left vacant by Congresswoman Mary Fallin. Pruitt did not receive the Republican nomination and has since continued his professional career which includes his position as General Managing Partner of the Oklahoma RedHawks.
Leonard is a former state prosecutor in Canadian County who previously served for four years in Washington as a senior legislative aide for U.S. Senator Don Nickles. Since Leonard announced his candidacy, Nickles has publicly endorsed his campaign calling Leonard a man with the “will to stand up for the Constitution.”
Although Pruitt leads, a majority of respondents remain undecided, leaving room for Leonard to close the gap given the right fund-raising and campaigning decisions.
“It was always assumed that Leonard would have an opponent in the primary and many from Senator Clark Jolley to Senator Jonathan Nichols were speculated to run,” Gaddie said. “It was Scott Pruitt who came forward. His substantial popularity left over from the 2006 GOP primary is still alive in this race. But, this race will get closer as it takes shape.”
Both candidates have vowed to file suit against the recent Health Care Reform Law with an end goal of rendering the legislation null and void in the State of Oklahoma. This campaign promise will most likely sit well with the majority of Oklahoma voters who are in favor of such a lawsuit.
As Attorney General, Edmondson has refused to join Oklahoma in the lawsuit against the Health Care Reform Law citing the high costs for Oklahoma associated with the lawsuit.
One Democrat has also joined the race, Jim Priest an attorney who has practiced law in Oklahoma for thirty years. Over the course of his career, Priest has tried numerous civil litigation trials in state and federal courts and has argued cases before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Although there is no polling data concerning Priest at this time, SoonerPoll plans to continue to poll this race from now until the general election, which will include Priest following the Republican nomination.