A typo in the original version has been corrected.
OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The sudden resignation by Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter comes in the middle of his elected term. What the governor plans to do about a decision that is sure to affect the course of the state remains to be seen.
Hunter handed in his resignation Wednesday, saying he will step down Monday, June 1.
He was first appointed by Gov. Mary Fallin in 2017, then elected in 2018.
His lawsuits against opioid manufacturers garnered national attention and millions of dollars for the state.
Now, according to state statute, Gov. Kevin Stitt is tasked with finding his replacement.
“This very well could be the most important decision that Gov. Kevin Stitt makes in his term,” said former Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb. “The attorney general, that position is so important, working off of hand in glove or maybe in opposition to a governor’s agenda.”
Over the past several months, the AG’s office has been working through Oklahoma criminal court decisions that can and are being overturned after the Supreme Court’s ruling on McGirt.
On Wednesday, a spokesperson for Hunter told KFOR in a statement that those legal battles “will be handled and it will be business as usual.”
“It’s the people’s law firm, those lawyers are all going to stay there,” said former Attorney General Mike Turpen.
Turpen expects the governor will choose someone who is more friendly to his goals.
“There’s no secret that he’s had a lot of differences of opinion, Kevin Stitt, the governor, with the current attorney general, Mike Hunter,” Turpen said.
Most notoriously, Hunter’s efforts to reject the governor’s gaming compact with Indian tribes authorizing gaming prohibited by Oklahoma Law.
“Mike Hunter had a strength there, I think Gov. Stitt has a deficit there,” Turpen said. “It would be smart for the governor to pick an attorney general who understands those issues very well.”
Stitt has not made indications for who he will appoint or when that appointment can be expected.