Gentner Drummond. Courtesy

Tulsa attorney Gentner Drummond, one of two candidates squaring off against attorney general Mike Hunter for the Republican nomination, announced Wednesday afternoon he will soon address the status of Oklahoma’s untested rape kits.

In a press release Wednesday, Danielle Tudor, a rape survivor and member of the state’s task force heading the effort to audit untested rape kits, said Drummond will attend a task force meeting Thursday and the two will then jointly address the media.

In a separate release, Drummond said he aims to learn about the task force’s recommendations on rape kit reform. The task force is set to present its findings to the governor, president pro tempore of the Senate and the speaker of the House by July 1.

Tudor has been critical of the role Hunter has played in the task force.

Gov. Mary Fallin signed an executive order last year creating a 17-member task force to lead an effort to audit the state’s untested rape kits, find funding for processing and create best practices for the handling of reported sexual assaults.

Danielle Tudor (left) with Gov. Mary Fallin on the day it was announced the rape kit audit task force had become an executive order. Courtesy

Tudor released a statement on June 1 stating Hunter failed to champion the cause and has not attended any task force meetings.

“He has refused to subpoena any information from any Law Enforcement Agency that has not responded by the deadlines given,” Tudor said in the release. “He has not threatened to withhold any funding from any of the Law Enforcement Agencies that have refused to comply with Governor Fallin’s directive.”

However, Hunter in a statement said his office supports the task force and Tudor is confused about his office’s role.

“The governor’s task force has no subpoena power, no investigative authority and no ability to withhold federal funds from law enforcement agencies,” Hunter said. “Further, the attorney general’s office does not and never has had the authority to enforce executive orders from the governor’s office.”

Melissa Blanton, chief of the victim’s services unit at the attorney general’s office, serves as chair of the governor’s task force.

The primary election is June 26. Angela Bonilla is the other Republican candidate for attorney general.

The attorney general’s race has been contentious. Drummond and Hunter butted heads this week when Drummond questioned the contract between the state and outside counsel in a lawsuit against opioid manufacturing companies, calling it “shameful.”

Drummond and Hunter began running negative campaign ads against each other last month.

Fallin appointed Hunter as attorney general last year when Scott Pruitt left to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

Hunter has said little about untested rape kits publicly, but has spent much of his time as attorney general focusing on the state’s opioid crisis.

Hunter heads the Oklahoma Commission on Opioid abuse Abuse, which created recommendations aimed to help curb the abuse of prescription opioids.

He filed a civil suit last year against several opioid manufacturing companies in Cleveland County District Court, alleging the companies fraudulently market opioids to doctors to prescribe to patients.

The Oklahoma Task Force on Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence, which is set to meet Thursday, has counted almost 7,300 rape kits from 314 law enforcement agencies across the state so far.

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Despite missing rape kit audits, task force says it will be ready to present findings