Drew Edmondson

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William Andrew 'Drew' Edmondson
Attorney General Drew Edmondson (right) and his wife Linda.
16th Attorney General of Oklahoma
In office
January 9, 1995 – January 10, 2011
Governor Frank Keating (1995-2003) Brad Henry (2003-2011)
Preceded by Susan B. Loving
Succeeded by Scott Pruitt
Personal details
Born (1946-10-12) October 12, 1946 (age 72)
Washington, D.C.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Linda Larason Edmondson
Children 2 children
Website Edmondson 2010
Military service
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1968-1972
Battles/wars Vietnam War
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William Andrew "Drew" Edmondson (born October 12, 1946), is an American lawyer and politician from 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 the district attorney for Muskogee County, Oklahoma, from 1983 to 1995.

In 2010, Edmondson made an unsuccessful bid for Governor of Oklahoma. Following his service as Attorney General, he joined the Oklahoma City law office of Gable Gotwals.

Early life and career

Drew Edmondson was born in Washington, D.C., 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 on 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 Fraternity which merged with Phi Sigma Kappa Fraternity in 1985. [1] While a college student, he married Linda Larason of Fargo, Oklahoma. The couple has two children.

From 1968 to 1972, he served in the United States Navy including a year of duty in Vietnam.[2] From 1974 to 1976, 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. While with the Office, Edmondson worked under District Attorney Mike Turpen.

Following a brief stint in private practice with his brother, when incumbent DA 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, half way through his third term and reentered private practice.

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. 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 have 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 now-former 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 restruction 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.

Following the 2002 federal appeals court decision declaring the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional, he joined several other state attorneys general in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision. Drew Edmondson's legal activities have not been limited to Oklahoma - they have reached as far away as New Jersey. He decided to support a New Jersey lawsuit in 2000 against the Boy Scouts of America, in an attempt to require the Boy Scouts to accept homosexual scout leaders.[3] The Supreme Court ruled against Edmondson's position,[4] ruling that the Boys Scouts of America had the authority to set the criteria for leadership within their organization.

In October 2007, Edmondson indicted 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.[5] On December 18, 2008 the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the underlying Oklahoma law that barred out of state petition circulators, noting that it was in violation of the First Amendment. Edmondson appealed the decision on behalf of Secretary of State Susan Savage. On January 21, 2009 the Tenth Circuit court denied the state's appeal, effectively ending the case.[6] The Attorney General's office dismissed the charges against Jacob and the other defendants, 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."[7] on January 22, 2009. The indictment of Jacob drew criticism for being politically motivated. 2008 independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader referred to the laws such as the one Jacob was charged with breaking as “Jim Crow laws,” adding, “We’ve seen this before against African Americans.[8] The Wall Street Journal editorialized against the prosecution twice, calling it "bizarre",[9][10] and Steve Forbes asked the question "Has North Korea Annexed Oklahoma?".[11]

Edmondson was elected to a fourth term in the 2006 election, running against Republican James Dunn in the general election. He did not seek reelection to a fifth term in 2010. 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

Edmonson announced on June 10, 2009 that he is a candidate for Governor of Oklahoma in the 2010 election cycle.

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." [12]

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.


  1. Phi Sigma Kappa at NSU
  2. "About Drew." Campaign Website. Retrieved 10-13-09. Archived July 10, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  3. http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/99-699.ZS.html Boy Scouts of America v. Dale
  4. http://law.onecle.com/ussc/530/530us643.html Edmondson supporting homosexual position against Boys Scouts by filing as a friend of the court.
  5. "Out of State Petition Circulators May Be Out Of Luck This Time." The Edmond Sun, October 8, 2007. Retrieved 10-13-09 Archived November 13, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  6. "Statement from Tenth Circuit Court"[dead link]
  7. "Oklahoma won't appeal initiative petition ruling.". Daily Oklahoman, January 22, 2009
  8. "YouTube: Ralph Nader on CSPAN" FreePaulJacob.com. Retrieved 10-13-09 Archived January 30, 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  9. "Oklahoma's Most Wanted", Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2007
  10. "Still Oklahoma's Most Wanted", Wall Street Journal, December 26, 2008
  11. "Has North Korea Annexed Oklahoma?", Forbes.com, November 26, 2007
  12. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128812938[dead link]

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Oklahoma State Representative
1975 - 1977
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Mike Turpen
District Attorney for Muskogee County, Oklahoma
1983 - 1995
Succeeded by
John David Luton
Preceded by
Susan B. Loving
Attorney General of Oklahoma
1995 - 2011
Succeeded by
Scott Pruitt
Party political offices
Preceded by
Robert Harlan Henry
Democratic nominee for Attorney General of Oklahoma
1994, 1998, 2002, 2006
Succeeded by
Jim Priest