- Associated Press - Friday, July 25, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A Republican House member from Jenks is eligible to become Tulsa County’s district attorney, even though a raise for prosecutors was approved during his term in the Legislature, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Friday.

In a 5-1 ruling, the state’s highest court said a provision of the constitution prohibiting legislators from taking jobs for which the salaries were increased during their term does not apply to state Rep. Fred Jordan because he wouldn’t become district attorney until after his legislative term ends.

“This is just fantastic news,” Jordan said.

Jordan’s candidacy had been challenged by his opponent in the Aug. 26 Republican primary runoff, said Steve Kunzweiler, chief of the Tulsa County district attorney’s criminal division. Kunzweiler argued Jordan isn’t eligible to serve as DA because of a pay increase approved by the Legislature earlier this year. Jordan abstained from voting on the pay raise bill.

Both Jordan and Kunzweiler are seeking to replace longtime Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris, who is retiring. No Democrats filed for the post, so the winner of the Aug. 26 runoff will become Tulsa County’s next top prosecutor. If the court had sided with Kunzweiler, he would have been assured the post.

Kunzweiler said he disagreed with the court’s ruling, but added: “I’m going to continue moving forward with the momentum we have.”

A third candidate in the race, state Sen. Brian Crain of Tulsa, dropped out after concluding he was ineligible because he was in the middle of his four-year Senate term. Even though he pulled out of the race, Crain still received 13 percent of the vote, forcing Kunzweiler and Jordan into a runoff. Kunzweiler received 47 percent of the vote, compared to 40 percent for Jordan.

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