Petition Could Decide Race For Tulsa County District Attorney

Monday, June 16th 2014, 11:31 pm
By: Tess Maune

A petition filed Monday could, potentially, decide the race for Tulsa County District Attorney. One candidate said a vote his opponents cast weeks ago make them ineligible to win the office.

Three Republicans filed to run for Tulsa County D.A, no democrats are on the ballot, so if a judge rules in Kunzweiler's favor, he would automatically become the next District Attorney.

There will be three names on the ballot for Tulsa County District Attorney: current Assistant District Attorney, Steve Kunzweiler, State Representative Fred Jordan and State Senator Brian Crain.

"We're faced with the real possibility that we may have a candidate who could be elected, who is ineligible by our constitution and that's an issue our public needs to know," Kunzweiler said.

The other candidates, Kunzweiler said, can't run because of legislation passed in May, which gives state judges and district attorneys a pay raise.

Kunzweiler said the state constitution is clear, in that legislators can't run for an office the same year they vote to raise its pay.

He said if an ineligible candidate is elected it will cause disruption and confusion.

"Then every decision of the district attorney would be called into question and that would put our community at risk. It would put our community in a precarious position," said Kunzweiler said.

Jordan said, "I think my opponent's using that as a distraction to try to say that I'm ineligible and that I'm gonna cause confusion, and that's just simply not true when you look at the law."

Jordan said he has every right to stay in the race. He said the Judicial Compensation Board initiated the pay hike, not lawmakers. He also said legislators cut the original pay raise proposal in half.

Jordan goes on to say, if he's voted in, the election process won't be made official until January 2015. His term will be finished by then.

"It's very clear that I can be a candidate and it's just too bad that there's this attempt to block the voters of Tulsa County from the opportunity to elect the DA that they want," said Jordan.

Senator Crain has bowed out of the race. Kunzweiler said Crain recognized he could no longer run after the pay increase was signed into law.

Jordan said Crain's situation differs from his because Crain's term doesn't end until 2016.

While Crain suspended his campaign, his name will still appear on the ballot because he didn't withdraw before the election board's deadline.

We checked the voting record; neither Crain nor Jordan voted in favor of the pay raises, both essentially abstained from voting.