With Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt positioned to become the head of the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the Sooner State could find itself with a new attorney general in 2017.
That new attorney general would be appointed by Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, unless Fallin herself assumes a position within Donald Trump’s administration as well. If that happens, Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb would become governor and appoint a replacement for Pruitt.
Since much remains in the air — including Pruitt’s confirmation — the dominoes could fall in several different directions, potentially.
Still, NonDoc has been peppered with questions about who might be chosen as a replacement attorney general. Below, we outline five possible candidates for the position.
1) Ryan Leonard
When Pruitt ran for AG in 2010, he defeated OKC attorney Ryan Leonard 56 percent to 44 percent in the GOP primary. Leonard is a partner with the firm Meyer, Leonard and Edinger, and he would enter the attorney general’s office with substantially more litigation experience than had a 2010-elected Pruitt, whom many criticized as being an inexperienced lawyer.
2) Glenn Coffee
Former Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee served as a senator from Oklahoma City for 12 years, and he was Oklahoma Secretary of State from 2011 to 2013. Coffee would bring a robust policy knowledge to the office, though his legal firm Glenn Coffee & Associates has only been around since 2013.
3) Clark Jolley
After a high-profile legislative career ended this year owing to term limits, former Sen. Clark Jolley (R-Edmond) has been rumored as a potential candidate for the 2018 ballot, either as attorney general or state treasurer. Jolley has a law degree from OU and has operated a private practice. Like Coffee, he would bring policy chops to a position mostly focused on law enforcement and defending state interests in court.
4) Sen. Anthony Sykes
Sen. Anthony Sykes (R-Moore) is known for a prickly nature, a slight temper and a rumored interest in running for attorney general in 2018. Sykes’ public disdain for media and his penchant for arrogance are widely known, and it’s unclear how those qualities might mesh with the glad-handing, baby-kissing and ass-kissing (in that order, please, beg the babies) necessary for a statewide campaign. While Sykes isn’t a likely candidate for the AG appointment, his interest in running for the position warrants inclusion on this list.
5) Oklahoma Secretary of State Mike Hunter
In October, Fallin named former assistant attorney general Mike Hunter as Oklahoma Secretary of State. It marked the second time Hunter has held that position, and it came as the governor was refreshing her staff for the final two years of her executive term. But Hunter’s résumé is deeper than that: He served in the Legislature in the 1980s, and he was the Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s chief legal counsel for a spell. If selected to replace Pruitt, Hunter would assume the position he sought in 1994 when he was the GOP nominee for attorney general. He lost to Drew Edmondson, who held the office until 2010.
(Clarification: Any sitting member of the Oklahoma Legislature would not be eligible for appointment to the position in question, which would limit Sen. Anthony Sykes’ prospects for the position to the 2018 election.)