Drummond knocks off O’Connor in Oklahoma AG race

June 29, 2022 GMT
State Attorney General candidate Gentner Drummond enters his watch party to declare victory at the VFW Tuesday, June 28, 2022 in Tulsa, Okla. Drummond has knocked off incumbent Attorney General John O’Connor in the Republican primary in the race for Oklahoma attorney general. (Mike Simons/Tulsa World via AP)
State Attorney General candidate Gentner Drummond enters his watch party to declare victory at the VFW Tuesday, June 28, 2022 in Tulsa, Okla. Drummond has knocked off incumbent Attorney General John O’Connor in the Republican primary in the race for Oklahoma attorney general. (Mike Simons/Tulsa World via AP)
State Attorney General candidate Gentner Drummond enters his watch party to declare victory at the VFW Tuesday, June 28, 2022 in Tulsa, Okla. Drummond has knocked off incumbent Attorney General John O’Connor in the Republican primary in the race for Oklahoma attorney general. (Mike Simons/Tulsa World via AP)
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State Attorney General candidate Gentner Drummond enters his watch party to declare victory at the VFW Tuesday, June 28, 2022 in Tulsa, Okla. Drummond has knocked off incumbent Attorney General John O’Connor in the Republican primary in the race for Oklahoma attorney general. (Mike Simons/Tulsa World via AP)
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State Attorney General candidate Gentner Drummond enters his watch party to declare victory at the VFW Tuesday, June 28, 2022 in Tulsa, Okla. Drummond has knocked off incumbent Attorney General John O’Connor in the Republican primary in the race for Oklahoma attorney general. (Mike Simons/Tulsa World via AP)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Tulsa attorney Gentner Drummond has knocked off incumbent Attorney General John O’Connor in the Republican primary in the race for Oklahoma attorney general.

With no Democrat and only a Libertarian on the November ballot, Tuesday’s victory for Drummond, 58, means he is almost certain to be Oklahoma’s next attorney general.

O’Connor, 67, was Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt’s hand-picked successor after former Attorney General Mike Hunter resigned last year. O’Connor quickly became Stitt’s ally in the governor’s increasingly contentious relationship with some of the Oklahoma-based Native American tribes. He sided with the governor in challenging the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark tribal sovereignty decision that determined much of eastern Oklahoma remained an Indian reservation for purposes of criminal jurisdiction.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Oklahoma can prosecute non-Native Americans for crimes committed on tribal land when the victim is Native American. The 5-4 decision cut back on the high court’s ruling from 2020.

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Drummond, who said he wanted to pursue a more cooperative relationship with the tribes, is a former fighter pilot who served eight years in the Air Force before getting his law degree from Georgetown University and returning to Oklahoma. He came within 300 votes of defeating Hunter in the GOP primary for attorney general in 2018.