Mike Hunter
Mike Hunter, left, has been named Oklahoma Attorney General. Here, he listens as Gov. Mary Fallin named him Secretary of State in October 2016. (William W. Savage III)

With Scott Pruitt confirmed last week as the new director of the federal Environmental Protection Agency, Gov. Mary Fallin announced the appointment of Mike Hunter as Oklahoma Attorney General this afternoon.

“Mike understands the law and has a thorough understanding of state government, which will serve him and the state well,” Fallin said in a press release sent after 5 p.m. “Mike also understands the importance of public service and he will be a tremendous advocate to protect the basic legal rights for Oklahomans.”

Hunter had been widely seen as the leading candidate to replace Pruitt, who was in the middle of his second term as AG before being tapped for a position in the administration of President Donald Trump.

“He has said to me in meetings, ‘When I move across the street,'” a lobbyist told NonDoc on the condition of anonymity last week.

Hunter had been named Oklahoma Secretary of State in October. He had been serving as Pruitt’s first assistant attorney general since June 2015. It marked Hunter’s second stint as Oklahoma Secretary of State, though it lasted only about four months.

From Fallin’s press release Monday:

From 2010 to 2015, Hunter was the chief operating officer of the American Bankers Association (ABA), which represents banks of all sizes and charters and is the champion for the nation’s $13 trillion banking industry and its 2 million employees. Hunter managed government relations, regulatory, legal and communications activities for the ABA.

Prior to joining ABA, Hunter was secretary of the Commissioners of the Land Office, a $4 billion public land and investment trust in Oklahoma. From 2002 through 2009, Hunter was executive vice president and chief operating officer of the American Council of Life Insurers, the advocacy, legal and research arm of the life insurance industry.

Fallin’s previous Secretary of State, Chris Benge, became her chief of staff in October.