“I am announcing as a congressional candidate,” said former District Attorney Tim Harris earlier in April.
Harris served a record-breaking 16 years in the position in Tulsa County. His focus was on the fight for the rights of crime victims. Recently, Rep. Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma has not endorsed Harris’ campaign but has encouraged him to run. Bridenstine is “self-term limited by his own choice,” according to Harris. Bridenstine is also being considered for the position of director of NASA within the Trump administration.
Harris said if Bridenstine is appointed, there will be a special election called by Gov. Mary Fallin no earlier than 60 days after Bridenstine vacates the position. In a normal election cycle, the primary would be set for June 2018, however with this change a special primary could be set for September and October 2017.
“That’s why I’m announcing now,” said Harris. “If this is the Lord’s call, and He has told me to run, God never tells you to do something without equipping you to do it.”
From his childhood, Harris dreamed of being a lawyer. After spending time in the mission field, he found himself working in construction. Later, he returned to school to obtain his undergraduate in Behavioral Science and Law.
“My parents came through Tulsa and picked up a brochure on the O.W. Coburn School of Law [ORU’s law school]. I read that, and started calling around,” said Harris as he was looking to continue on into law school. ORU was still in its early stages when Harris enrolled to attend.
“When you make application to law schools, you have a processing fee that you send that is non-refundable. Inside about 45 minutes I called eight of the schools I had applied too, and every one of them sent me back my non-refundable processing fee,” said Harris. “I was on my knees in tears, cause I knew I was going to Tulsa, Oklahoma.”
The O.W. Coburn School of Law would attain accreditation while Harris was in attendance, and after successfully passing his Bar examinations, the now lawyer from Milwaukee found himself at the District Attorney office in downtown Tulsa.
“My senior year here, as I started interning with the district attorney’s office, the prosecution bug bit me,” said Harris. “All of a sudden it was like the Tulsa County Courthouse, I can advocate for victims of crime and children. I can move the ball forward at this mission field called the court house.”
DA personnel supervise about 9,000 people that have come through the various parts of the legal system. After serving the people of Tulsa in public service for close to three decades, Harris felt the need step away in the 2014 election.
“In late 2014 the Lord tapped me on the shoulder and said He has another chapter for me. Four different election cycles in four-year terms, I was supposed to be there. This was my mission field,” said Harris.
Although the transition to current DA Steve Kunzweiler looked like a career retirement for Harris, it was a preparation season for what dreams lay ahead.
Harris is currently an adjunct professor of law at ORU, and he plans to partner with International Relations Professor Ruby Libertus to gain insight on campaign platforms.
Harris said he hopes international students and faculty will help inform his positions on foreign relations.
“I am not a foreign relations expert, and they want to solidify ideas on human trafficking and being a policeman in the world, and what’s our place in this chemical warfare in Syria and how do we handle all these things,” said Harris.
This connection aims to create a political foundation on foreign policy for Harris, while allowing students in the field to gain experience working with a congressman.
“I see our constitutional rights being eaten away; our religious liberties are being taken away from us. I want to go to Washington for the people of the first district, for people of Oklahoma and America to keep our constitutional rights intact,” said Harris.
After his retirement from the courthouse position in 2013, Tulsa County honored Harris by renaming the victim witness center after him. In this same center that Harris plans to make his official announcement of candidacy on the eighth floor in the Tulsa County Courthouse on April 24. Prior to this public announcement, Harris has already placed everything for his campaign in order, filing for FEC and preparing Facebook and web pages.
“I will run like I am second every day of the week. If I am unsuccessful, it’s a win-win. The journey becomes more important that the actual destination,” said Harris.