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Tulsa DA race down to two men with very different approaches
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Tulsa DA race down to two men with very different approaches

Tulsa DA race down to two men with very different approaches
Photo Credit: Russell Mills

Tulsa DA race down to two men with very different approaches

The race to become Tulsa first new District Attorney in 16 years has come down to two men, and because they're both Republicans, the issue will be decided by voters in the June 24th primary.

Steve Kunzweiler is currently Chief Criminal Prosecutor for Tulsa County, while Rep. Fred Jordan serves in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Jordan has some experience as a prosecutor, gained during his stint with the US Marine Corps.

"I served on active duty in the Marine Corps as a judge advocate and a prosecutor," he tells KRMG. "I developed my prosecution skills there and enjoyed that work."

While he acknowledges the office's responsibility for public safety, he says his emphasis will be on managing the office and trying to boost funding.

"The District Attorney's role is more one of leading the organization, providing solid leadership and management to the organization," he told KRMG.

He added "there obviously will be cases that the District Attorney himself needs to handle and be prepared to do that, but that's not the major part of the District Attorney's position."

Kunzweiler has served as a prosecutor for 24 years, and says it's his experience that makes him the best choice.

"This isn't a job where you can just step into it and get the training as you go," he tells KRMG.

As Chief of the Criminal Division, he says, "every homicide that happens in Tulsa County comes across my desk. I've prosecuted some of the most notorious murderers here in Tulsa County. I've handled death penalty cases, child abuse cases, I've done drug trafficking cases."

He says managing the office is certainly a key role, but the County's top law officer has to focus on getting justice.

The third candidate in the race, State Sen. Brian Crain, also a Republican, dropped out late last week because of an Oklahoma law which forbids someone from being elected or appointed to any office or commision in the state which received a pay raise while that person served in the legislature which approved the raise.

Some have questioned whether Jordan shouldn't also step down -- but he says he's not covered under that law because his term would end before he would take office as District Attorney.

Crain himself said he could probably fight the law and win in court, but knew the matter couldn't be settled before voters cast their ballots, and he didn't want to put the electorate in that position.

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