Following the death Sunday of David Hammer, who recently won the district attorney race for Pottawatomie and Lincoln counties, Oklahoma state law appears to call for the governor to appoint a new top prosecutor for District 23.
While earning more than 58% of the vote, Hammer, 47, handily defeated embattled incumbent Allan Grubb and Tanya Roland, each fellow Republicans, in the June 28 election.
Five days later, Hammer’s family announced his death on social media. Sources told The Oklahoman that Hammer died from a heart attack.
Hammer pledged to make trust and transparency the hallmarks of his office, saying “citizens deserve to have complete confidence in how public monies are being managed and spent with no excuses.”
Hammer was slated to take office in January. With Grubb expected to serve out his term, a vacancy wouldn’t arise until the new year.
Oklahoma law requires the governor to fill the vacancy through an appointment.
According to Title 26 of state law, which concerns elections:
“In the event a deceased candidate is certified by the appropriate Election Board as having won an election, a vacancy in the office shall occur upon the date the candidate would have taken office, and the vacancy shall be filled in the manner prescribed by law. ”
County election boards met July 1 to certify their elections.
Title 19 of state law, which concerns counties and county officers, says whenever the office of district attorney shall be vacated “by reason of resignation or death of the district attorney, the Governor of the State of Oklahoma shall appoint a qualified person to serve the balance of the unexpired terms of said office.”
Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt is vying to be re-elected to a second term in the November election against Democrat Joy Hofmeister.
Stitt recently has made district attorney appointments.
On Oct. 13, he announced the appointment of Larry Edwards to serve as district attorney for District 15 in Muskogee County. Edwards’ appointment fills the vacancy created by Orvil Lodge’s resignation.
Two months earlier, in August, Stitt announced the appointment of Kyle Cabelka as the district attorney for District 5, which covers the Comanche and Cotton Counties.
Cabelka’s appointment filled the vacancy created when Fred C. Smith retired.
- As crime stats are disputed, Harford County state's attorney race divides law enforcement – Baltimore Sun
- State attorney general launches investigation into medical data tracking
- Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby's arguments to dismiss charges 'Orwellian,' should be rejected – Baltimore Sun
- Kentucky attorney general asks state Supreme Court to reinstate abortion ban
- Before changing abortion laws, improve state's child support system