27 Mar Ben Fu, former Tulsa County prosecutor, announces bid for district attorney
Benjamin Fu, a former Tulsa County prosecutor who handled sex crime cases, is the first person to publicly state the intention to run against District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler later this year.
Fu worked as an assistant district attorney for years under Kunzweiler before leaving last year for private practice. He posted on Facebook on Tuesday that he plans to make his announcement the following day.
“So this is happening,” Fu said in the post, which contained his campaign slogan “Right on crime.”
The filing deadline to run for district attorney is in April. A primary election is set for June, with the general election, if necessary, scheduled for November. Election filings show Jenny Proehl-Day, a private attorney and former Tulsa County prosecutor, has filed paperwork to run for DA as a democrat.
Prior to Fu’s announcement of his plans to run for DA, there had been little public interest in attempting to unseat Kunzweiler. The Frontier spent weeks in December and January asking potential and rumored candidates to gauge their interest in running for district attorney. No one claimed to be interested in the job.
Both men who opposed Kunzweiler in 2014 said they would not be running against him in 2018. Fred Jordan, who lost on election night to Kunzweiler said he had “no desire” to run again.
Brian Crain, a former state senator who pulled out of the 2014 race voluntarily due to a technicality that left him ineligible, said he would not run again. Instead he has filed to run for associate district judge in Tulsa County, records show.
Jerad Lindsey, the chairman of Tulsa’s Fraternal Order of Police, said that while his organization would not support Kunzweiler, they would also not recruit anyone to run against him.
“We felt like that would be a little out of bounds,” Lindsey said of any potential recruitment.
Lindsey filed the ethics complaint against Kunzweiler in the days leading up to the Betty Shelby trial, attended much of the trial and posted pro-Shelby video recaps of much of the testimony to the FOP’s page. He also shared videos siding with Shelby’s version of events throughout the trial, something that was criticized at the time by people alleging the FOP was trying to influence jurors.
Lindsey said he hoped Kunzweiler would draw a strong opponent.
“If someone steps up to run and they’re decent we would support them,” he said. “I don’t see any way we would support Steve.”