The Republican Attorney General runoff election is an interesting study.
Both men have had a lot of success away from their legal careers. Mike Hunter got the job when President Donald Trump picked Scott Pruitt to come to Washington for what ended up being a brief vacation away from Oklahoma.
Gentner Drummond won't say bad things about Hunter personally, but he is quick to say that the quasi-incumbent doesn't do the job to his standards.
I've never met or spoken to Hunter in person, but I feel like we are best friends because his office sends me about 43 emails a week. Is that excessive? Is a gallon of Coke Zero a day excessive? Who am I to judge?
I have a good friend who has worked with Hunter both in Oklahoma and when he left the state to work as a lobbyist in Washington D.C. Wait, I can't say he left the state. That would imply he didn't meet the residency requirements to run for office. He won that challenge, so we can say he visited Washington D.C. very consistently for a few years. His heart and enough of his residency to satisfy the review board stayed in the Sooner State.
That friend — whose opinion I trust — said Hunter is a great guy and very effective. He's a supporter and that carries weight with me.
Drummond certainly makes some solid points about what he would do differently. There is one Hunter-decision that I really wish Drummond would have been allowed to make.
When the attorneys for the huge opioid case were chosen, Hunter didn't take bids — he didn't have to and he chose not to.
In many states fighting the same lawsuit, the attorney fees have been capped. Don't cry any tears for these capped attorneys. The caps are in the tens of millions. I would be willing to do my job for $15 million.
In Oklahoma there is no cap, so attorney fees in this case will like rake in more than $100 million. That $90 million in the state's coffers could alleviate a lot of taxes. Instead, it will line the pockets of a few attorneys. That's pretty typical for Oklahoma state government.
In what I am sure is a complete coincidence, the attorneys Hunter selected, their wives, children and probably their 4th cousins all maxed out their political contributions to Hunter.
I know attorneys are going to make political donations in an attorney general's race, but that "quid" seems to have brought a little "pro quo" with it.
Hunter can say that he and the attorneys he chose to represent the state simply have a mutual admiration society. I would love to have friends who are that lucrative.
I do side with Hunter on one facet of an argument between him and Drummond. Drummond points out that Hunter wasn't much help on the new rules governing the administration and sale of medical marijuana after voters approved the measure. Hunter uses the line "I am the attorney general, not the emperor general." In Hunter's defense, no one even knows who constructed the additional amendments that the state board of health passed the first time they met, and Gov. Mary Fallin signed them less than 24 hours later. It isn't like Hunter was asked for his input.
It might have seemed too little, too late when Hunter gave his recommendations after the fact, but by all accounts, his input followed the will of the people and the spirit of the law and will keep the state from being sued and losing. That is his job and he did it well.
The attorney general's race on the republican side is worth voters taking the time to research. Hunter is an appointed incumbent. Gentner is an outsider who is independently wealthy.
I don't know that either of them is a bad choice. But there are plenty of differences between the campaigns to help voters make a decision.