Former Oklahoma AG Edmondson announces bid for governor
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Drew Edmondson, a former prosecutor and four-term Oklahoma attorney general from one of the state’s most well-established political families, announced Monday he will seek the Democratic nomination for governor in 2018.
Touting his record for taking on corporations, Wall Street and big tobacco, the 70-year-old Edmondson formally launched his campaign at the Jazz Hall of Fame in Tulsa. He expressed a willingness to work with members of both parties to move the state forward, but also criticized the Republican-controlled Legislature for the current budget crisis and catering to special interests.
“There’s nothing less important at stake than the future of Oklahoma,” Edmondson said. “We’re not just at the bottom. We’re at the bottom and going down. If we want a future for our children and grandchildren, we’ve got to do better.”
Edmondson described a proposed tax hike on cigarettes as a “no-brainer” and said he would support an effort to return the effective tax rate on oil and natural gas production back from 2 percent to closer to 7 percent.
“The oil and gas industry is healthy. They don’t need tax breaks to drill,” Edmondson said. “Even if they raised it ... back to 7 percent, it would still be below the rates in virtually every other oil and gas producing state in the nation.”
A supporter of the death penalty and abortion rights for women, Edmondson served for 16 years as the state’s attorney general before running for the state’s open governor’s seat in 2010. He lost the Democratic primary race against then Lt. Gov. Jari Askins by less than 1 percent.
Edmondson, who raised more than $2.7 million for his primary race in 2010, said he expects a successful candidate will need to raise about twice that much before the 2018 election.
Edmondson, a Vietnam veteran, is the son of former ten-term U.S. House member Ed Edmondson and nephew of J. Howard Edmondson, a former Oklahoma governor and U.S. senator.
Edmondson’s brother, James Edmondson, was appointed by Gov. Brad Henry to the Oklahoma Supreme Court in 2003.
Other Democratic candidates running for the governor’s post are House Democratic leader Rep. Scott Inman, former state Sen. Connie Johnson and retired auto mechanic Norman Brown.
Republican candidates include Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb and Tulsa attorney Gary Richardson.
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