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Attorneys general races, 2014
A map of this year's attorneys general races
State attorneys general elections are almost always overshadowed by gubernatorial, Senate, and House races, but they are incredibly important. State attorneys general's powers vary from state to state, but they often have a good deal of influence over major policy issues. Attorneys general are often sought out as candidates for higher office, with many current governors and senators previously serving as their state's top lawyer. This year well-funded groups, especially Republican-aligned ones, are spending big in these races to ensure that they can take these important offices.  

What follows is a guide to 2014's elections for attorney general. In April we did another rundown of these races, and since then much has changed or better come into focus. The above map by Stephen Wolf provides an overview of this year's races. The map and the following analysis do not include states where the attorney general is not elected by voters, or where the election will be held in a different year. Republicans had a great year in 2010, flipping five of these offices at the polls. Democrats are hoping to return the favor this time around.

To start out, here is a table with all 50 state attorneys general, with notes about how they are selected and whether they are running this year.

Head below for a state-by-state look at each of 2014's attorney general races.  

AL-AG: First-term Republican Luther Strange looks like the clear favorite to win reelection in conservative Alabama, but he faces a formidable challenge from Democratic state Rep. Joe Hubbard. Hubbard, the great-grandson of former Sen. Lister Hill, has benefited from Strange's fight with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians over gambling: The group has donated $750,000 to Hubbard so far, giving him the resources to mount a credible campaign against Strange. The incumbent has been emphasizing his action against BP over the 2010 Gulf oil spill as well as his many lawsuits against the Obama administration, while portraying Hubbard as beholden to the Poarch Band. For his part, Hubbard has worked to depict Strange as obsessed with gambling and as someone who ignores Alabama's crime problems.

As a relatively non-controversial Republican incumbent in a dark red state, Strange starts with a clear advantage. However, Hubbard is credible enough that he can put up a fight. There is a good chance we'll be hearing about both candidates again after this race. Strange has been mentioned as a potential 2018 gubernatorial candidate, while Hubbard appears to be emerging as a rising star in a state where the Democratic bench has taken a serious hit over the past few years.

AZ-AG: If you're looking for America's most endangered attorney general, look no further. First-term Republican Tom Horne has been in trouble almost since the moment he took office. In recent weeks, the Arizona secretary of state's office has stated that there is evidence that Horne illegally used state staff and resources on his reelection campaign; The Maricopa County attorney's office is investigating related allegations. Horne has had numerous other problems: A separate FBI investigation caught Horne fleeing the scene of a fender-bender in a parked garage after engaging in an affair.

Despite the best efforts of his fellow Republicans, Horne is running for reelection. He faces a primary challenge on August 26 from former state Gaming Director Mark Brnovich. While Horne has a huge cash-on-hand edge, Brnovich has the backing of Gov. Jan Brewer. A poll from Conservative Leadership of Arizona focusing mostly on the gubernatorial race found Brnovich leading Horne 39-25.  

The Democrats are fielding former Assistant Attorney General and 2010 nominee Felecia Rotellini, who came close to beating Horne in 2010. Rotellini, who has out-raised both Republicans, would almost certainly rather face the damaged Horne than Brnovich, but she is a formidable candidate in her own right. A Rotellini win would give state Democrats a much-needed statewide post and likely make her a contender for higher office.

AR-AG: Democrats have held this office for generations, but the newly ascendant Arkansas Republican Party is making a play for it this November. Their candidate is Leslie Rutledge, a former aide to then-Gov. Mike Huckabee. The Democrats have a strong contender in state Rep. Nate Steel, who has proven to be a very good fundraiser.  

Rutledge is campaigning on fighting the federal government while Steel wants a more local focus. The state attorney general's office has been a good launching pad for higher office: Alumni include Sen. Mark Pryor, Gov. Mike Beebe, and Bill Clinton. Both parties want a victory here, but a Steel win would give the state Democratic bench a new member after two terrible cycles.

CA-AG: First-term Democrat Kamala Harris won a very close race in 2010, but she won't have much of a problem this time around. She faces Republican Ron Gold, who is little-known and has very few resources. Harris is a potential candidate for governor or Senate in the near future, and has even been talked about for U.S. Attorney General or even the U.S. Supreme Court.  

CO-AG: Republican Attorney General John Suthers is termed-out, and there is a competitive battle to replace him. The Democrats are fielding Don Quick, a former district attorney for Adams and Broomfield Counties in suburban Denver. The Republicans have Chief Deputy Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, whose husband Rep. Mike Coffman also has a tough battle this year.

Quick has a big $231,000 to $70,000 cash-on-hand edge, but outside groups are likely to help Coffman. A recent PPP poll gave Coffman a 38-29 lead, indicating that the state political climate is giving her a boost. Same-sex marriage will likely be an issue here: Quick would not defend Colorado's ban, while Coffman would. Colorado Republicans have had some notable defeats in the last few cycles and they would love a win here: A Coffman victory would also allow them to replenish their diminished bench.  

CT-AG: First-term Democrat George Jepsen has had a long career in Connecticut politics, and it's likely to continue after 2014. He faces Republican Kie Westby, whose only claim to fame so far is running a forgettable U.S. Senate campaign in 2012.  

DE-AG: In a bit of a surprise, Democratic incumbent Beau Biden pulled the plug on his reelection campaign in order to concentrate on his 2016 gubernatorial bid. Democrats are fielding Lt. Gov. Mark Denn, who should be the clear favorite against little-known Republican corporate attorney Ted Kittila. Denn has larger ambitions, but there is no shortage of qualified Democratic candidates in Delaware.

FL-AG: Despite receiving a great deal of national attention and having some big missteps, first-term Republican Pam Bondi is pretty anonymous in Florida. A recent PPP poll found her favorable rating deadlocked at 29-29, and holding only modest leads against her two potential Democratic foes.

However, Bondi starts out with a massive financial edge over both Democrats, and has the luxury of avoiding a competitive primary. For the most part, the contest between former Department of Children and Families Secretary George Sheldon and House Minority Leader Perry Thurston has been civil, and they've trained their fire on Bondi. Sheldon has raised more money but has spent it faster, giving Thurston a potential advantage in the primary. Bondi's attempts to preserve Florida's ban on same sex marriage could impact the race. Bondi is widely seen as a rising Republican star and if she wins, she will be a likely gubernatorial or Senate candidate in the near future.

GA-AG: Georgia has a number of competitive races this year, but it doesn't look like this will be one of them. First-term Republican Sam Olens faces former Democratic state Sen. Greg Hecht. Olens has a big fundraising edge and should be favored in what is still a Republican-leaning state. However, Olens handling of an ethics matter has been controversial and is worth keeping an eye on to see if it gets bigger. Olens is a potential gubernatorial candidate in 2018, though he'd likely need to get past a number of other ambitious Republicans.

ID-AG: Longtime Republican incumbent Lawrence Wasden held back a tea party primary challenger in the primary, prevailing by an unimpressive 59-41. The general election will be much easier, with his Democratic foe not even campaigning.

IL-AG: Democratic incumbent Lisa Madigan turned down bids for higher office in 2010 and 2014, but she is expected to easily win reelection this time. Madigan is a potential candidate for Senate in 2016 or governor in 2018.

IA-AG: Democratic incumbent Tom Miller has served as attorney general for decades, and he's running once again. Miller will face Republican Adam Gregg, who entered the race late after no one else ran. Gregg, who served as Gov. Terry Branstad's lobbyist to the state legislature, may be able to benefit from his old boss' popularity. Gregg has raised money well but he will still have a tough time against Miller, who turned back a credible challenger with ease in 2010.  

KS-AG: First-term Republican Derek Schmidt should have little trouble against attorney A.J. Kotich here. Schmidt is a potential gubernatorial or Senate candidate, though there many of ambitious Republicans in Kansas he'd need to get through.

MD-AG: Democrats have held this office for nearly a century, and it doesn't look like that will change soon. Longtime state legislator Brian Frosh was the underdog for most of the Democratic primary against Del. Jon Cardin, but several of Cardin's missteps helped Frosh pull ahead. Frosh ended up beating Cardin and Del. Aisha Braveboy decisively, and should have little trouble against Republican Jeffrey Pritzker.

MA-AG: Democratic incumbent Martha Coakley is giving up this post in order to run for governor, and two Democrats are trying to succeed her. Former state Sen. Warren Tolman has a major fundraising edge over Maura Healey, who served as Civil Rights Bureau Chief for Coakley and would be the first openly gay attorney general in any state. Tolman also has the influential support of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, among others. Both candidates have signed a People's Pledge to deter outside spending. The winner should have little trouble against Republican John Miller.

MI-AG: First-term Republican Bill Schuette is a potential gubernatorial candidate in 2018, but he does not have a clear path to reelection. Schuette does not appear to have made much of an impression during his time in office: A recent PPP poll gave him a 21-28 favorability rating, and found him leading Democratic law professor Mark Totten 34-32. Democrat Godfrey Dillard is also running, but is the clear underdog ahead of the August nominating convention. With Michigan playing host to competitive Senate and gubernatorial contests, there's a good chance this race will be decided by outside factors.

MN-AG: Two-term Democratic incumbent Lori Swanson is running again. The Republicans are fielding state Sen. Scott Newman, who is running mainly on voter ID. Republicans haven't won this office since 1966 and Swanson prevailed by double-digits in 2006 and 2010, and it's hard to see her losing this time.

NE-AG: Incumbent Republican Jon Bruning vacated this seat in an ultimately unsuccessful run for governor, setting up a crowded Republican primary. The eventual winner was attorney Doug Peterson, a first-time candidate. Republicans have held this post since the 1950s and that's unlikely to change this time. The Democratic nominee is Janet Stewart, who lost badly when she ran for secretary of state in 2010.

NV-AG: The scions of two of Nevada's leading political families are facing off in what is already an expensive high stakes contest. Democratic Secretary of State Ross Miller, the son of former Gov. Bob Miller, is seen as a likely gubernatorial candidate in 2018. Republicans are running first-time candidate Adam Laxalt, the grandson of former Gov. and Sen. Paul Laxalt.

Laxalt spent most of his life in the Washington area before moving to the state in 2011. However, Laxalt has gotten a good deal of support from influential Republicans, including Dick Cheney. Miller has been on the receiving end of a $500,000 air campaign from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, with Sheldon Adelson and his allies likely to get involved as well. However, Miller is no pushover and is generally seen as the clear favorite to win in the end. Still, this is going to be a tough fight until November, and Republicans would love to score a win here and take down a Democratic rising star.  

NM-AG: Democratic state Auditor Hector Balderas had little trouble securing his party's nomination to replace Gary King, who is running for governor. Balderas faces Susan Riedel, an old ally of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez. However, Riedel's own electoral history is not good: She lost reelection to a judgeship in 2012. Balderas has a massive cash edge over Riedel and should be the clear favorite. Balderas ran for the Senate in 2012 and if he becomes attorney general, it looks likely that he'll make another go for higher office.  

NY-AG: First-term Democrat Eric Schneiderman has not made as much of an impression on voters as his predecessors Elliot Spitzer and Andrew Cuomo, and Republicans are hoping that they can score a win here. The GOP has turned to John Cahill, who served as an aide to then-Gov. George Pataki. Schneiderman is taking the race seriously, reserving millions in air-time for the fall. Still, Cahill has a very uphill climb in blue New York: Recent polls all show Schneiderman clearly ahead.  

ND-AG: Republican Wayne Stenehjem has held this post since 2000, and there's little reason to think he's in any danger here.

OH-AG: Former Republican Sen. Mike DeWine returned to elected office in 2010, winning a close race for state attorney general. At the moment, DeWine looks like he's set to keep his job. The Democrats are running former Hamilton County Commissioner David Pepper, who lost by a respectable 50-45 for state auditor in 2010. Pepper is trying to make DeWine's handling of the state's rape kit test backlog an issue.

Pepper got some good news recently when it emerged that a number of state contracts were given out to people who had donated to DeWine, his son, or the state Republican Party. Whether or not this is enough to severely hurt DeWine remains to be seen. For now, DeWine looks like he's in the drivers' seat. Before the news broke the state Democratic Party recently released an internal poll of every statewide office but attorney general, which is probably a sign that they did not like what they found here. DeWine is also well-funded, holding twice as much cash-on-hand as Pepper. Ohio voters proved in 2006 that they are willing to part ways with DeWine, but it looks like it will take a lot to unseat him again.

OK-AG: Republican Scott Pruitt faces no major party opposition to reelection. Pruitt turned down a chance to run for US Senate this year, but he is a likely candidate for Senate or governor somewhere down the line.

RI-AG: First-term Democrat Peter Kilmartin is the favorite for reelection, but Republicans are hoping they can at least run a competitive race. State Sen. Dawson Hodgson is Team Red's candidate and he has made the state's loan to the now-defunct video game company 38 Studios a major issue. Hodgson is criticizing Kilmartin for voting for the loan in the legislature, and accusing him of now carrying out a proper investigation of 38 Studios as attorney general. It will be difficult to beat Kilmartin in this very blue state, but with the 38 Studios matter an ongoing issue, Hodgson is hoping he can pull off a surprise.  

SC-AG: Republican Alan Wilson, the son of Rep. Joe Wilson, faces minimal opposition to reelection. Wilson has been named as a potential candidate for higher office, but in a state with a huge Republican bench he'll have his work cut out for him.

SD-AG: There's little reason to see Republican Marty Jackley as being in any danger in this very red state.

TX-AG: Incumbent Republican Greg Abbott is running for governor, and Team Red is favored to keep this seat. State Sen. Ken Paxton, who aligned with the tea party wing of the party, decisively beat establishment favorite state Rep. Dan Branch in the May runoff. The Democratic nominee is Sam Houston: Despite his famous namesake, Houston is not well known and does not have much money, and will have a very uphill battle in what is still a very red state.

There is one potential wild card here. Paxton paid a $1,000 fine after he did not disclose the fact that he collected money for referring clients. Paxton's Republican foes tried to make this an issue in the runoff, but with little success. Democrats hope that this issue could get bigger and become a bigger liability to Paxton in the general election, and perhaps even lead to an indictment. This is definitely worth keeping an eye on, though if an indictment is seen as politically motivated there is a very good chance it could backfire and help Paxton.  

UT-AG: Utah has not had much luck with attorneys general lately, with the last two currently awaiting trial. Nevertheless Republican Sean Reyes, who was appointed in 2013 to replace his disgraced predecessor, should have no problem winning. Reyes had no interparty opposition, and should have an easy time against Democrat Charles Stormont in this very red state. Stormont has run as a candidate who can restore confidence in the attorney general's office, but he will face a very uphill climb unless Reyes has problems of his own.

VT-AG: Longtime Democratic incumbent Bill Sorrell almost lost his primary to an up-and-comer in 2012, but he will have a much easier time in 2014. Sorrell faces no serious challenge in the primary or general. The office will be up again in 2016 (Vermont is the only state where elected attorneys general only serve two-year terms) and it remains to be seen if he'll run again.

WI-AG: Incumbent Republican J.B. Van Hollen is retiring, setting off a major battle to succeed him in a state that has seen more than its share of political battles in recent years. Three Democrats are running: Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ; state Rep. Jon Richards; and Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne.

Happ is backed by EMILY's list and AFSCME and has been stressing her ability to win as a Democrat in a rural Republican-leaning county. Richards has been the best fundraiser and hails from Milwaukee, a major source of Democratic votes in a primary. However, Richards has met with some skepticism for not being a career prosecutor. Ozanne comes from another big source of Democratic primary voters and got attention in 2011 for suing over violations of the state's open meeting laws. Ozanne's fundraising has been weak, though, and he has very little money left for the last weeks of the race. The primary will be held August 12.

The Republicans are running Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel, who faces no primary opposition. Schimel has proven to be the best fundraiser in the race and can afford to hold his money until the general election. The Republican made news recently after he was criticized for not investigating a legislator who allegedly had a donor write legislation for him. It remains to be seen whether or not this will become an issue in the general. This is expected to be a fierce fight and both parties will work hard to pull out a win.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 01:29 PM PDT.

Also republished by California politics and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Pam Bondi is a horror. She will GOTV in Florida. (4+ / 0-)

    Every time you turn around, there's Pam, going to bat for big corporations and developers.  

    •  I am perplexed over this AG situation.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Adam Blomeke

      Or the whole ballot....and I am speaking as a "R" lurker on this site.  She is going to be the only "R" I am not voting for.  I am going to skip the Gubernatorial race, as I like neither candidate, but I am going to vote against Blondi.   I'm still trying to mull through the court decision about the Congressional district redraws.  I'm hoping Jolly still remains my congressman, but if they redraw it, to incorporate a lot of South St. Pete., then all bets are off.  My district will become DNC favored....

      •  you appear to be in luck (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        they declared that district to be fine.  Unless the lines drawn for Jacksonville and Orlando wind up requiring a few shifts in St. Pete, (doubtful) I'd say you're safe.

        My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right. -- Senator Carl Schurz(MO-1899)

        by Adam Blomeke on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 07:57:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Kamala Harris has done Democrats proud. (14+ / 0-)

    Although I expected as much when she was elected the first time. It would be nice to see her take over Feinstein's seat in the Senate. Then we would have two Democratic Senators from California. Okay, two progressive Democratic Senators from California.

  •  The Wisconsin race is one to watch here. Schime... (12+ / 0-)

    The Wisconsin race is one to watch here. Schimel has already landed in hot water due to his stance that "money is speech", and all 3 Dems have said they will not pursue appeals of court decisions striking down the state's ban on same-sex marriage, while Schimel would keep using taxpayer dollars to defend the ban.

    Richards seems to be the favorite for Dems, as he's gotten endorsements from the state's largest LGBTQ group, as well as the largest environmental groups in the state (full disclosure- I'm a Richards backer), but Happ seems formidable. It seems like a two-horse race there, as Ozanne just had an issue involving unaccounted-for campaign expenses in his last campaign report and came in a distant 3rd in the straw poll at the state convention last month.

    •  I've seen them all speak (4+ / 0-)

      and have had good sit-down chats with Richards and Ozanne.

      I can't find any fault with Happ except that she's been a little too strident about being nonpartisan. I get that, but when you're talking to the party faithful and start edging into Dem-bashing...

      Ozanne's been working hard and has been traveling throughout the state for a long time, but this campaign expense mess-up is troublesome. I don't look at the straw poll at the state convention as particularly indicative of anything.

      I'll be voting for Richards. I think he'll do the best job. Having said that, I think Happ would probably do fine also.

      Screw John Galt. Who's John Doe?

      by Mike Kahlow on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 03:28:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'd be happy with any of them replacing (0+ / 0-)

      JB.  He's pretty much been phoning it in lately - farming out most of the work to Republican law firms rather than doing the work himself or out of his office.

      Good riddance when he leaves.

      There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

      by Puddytat on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 08:00:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Badgers, Real Ones Anyway...Better Vote (0+ / 0-)

      in November, or we may actually never undo the damage the GOP has done....

      Remember, AFTER the elections, 1.6 billion in new tax breaks for people & businesses that don't need it kick in.

      Curiously the same amount Walker took out of education....

  •  Maryland AG race (16+ / 0-)

    The Republican candidate Jeffrey Pritzker was in my 4th, 5th and 6th grade classmate and my Hebrew school classmate for five years.  He was part of a gang of boys that bullied me - really tormented me for all 3 years.  Jeffrey was not the ring leader - one day I had enough from those bastards and decided to stand up to the ring leader and we were punching each other and then I threw my tormentor onto the ground and started punching him.  He said to Jeffrey - "get him off of me" and Jeffrey pulled me off and held me down and the ring leader punched me in the nose and broke my nose and blood poured out like Niagara Falls.  They laid off for a few weeks, and started again.

    I sent Jeffrey an email in early June - told him who I was - told him it was a difficult time for me but we have all grown and matured and I hope he will take a stand against school yard bullying both as a candidate and if he is elected (highly unlikely).  I offered to meet him for lunch.  He never responded.

    "Corporations exist not for themselves, but for the people." Ida Tarbell 1908.

    by Navy Vet Terp on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 01:59:52 PM PDT

    •  Wow! (4+ / 0-)

      Sounds like a wonderful person to run for top law enforcer. What a creep!

      I hope you've gotten better, but that's a horrible memory to have. Did you tell someone in the media?

      Blessed are the hearts that can bend; for they can never be broken Albert Camus

      by vcmvo2 on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 03:46:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No - this was a very long time ago (9+ / 0-)

        Maybe 1959 or 1960 or 1961.  And he was only 10 or 11 or 12. I was hoping he would respond with an apology although I didn't explicitly ask for one.  I haven't seen or heard from him in over 50 years.

        In 1972 he ran for Democratic National Convention delegate as a McGovern delegate.  He put out flyers - he looked like a hippie with a beard and hair down to his waist.  Just looking at the photo made my blood boil and although I supported McGovern I didn't vote for him in my first vote in a federal election.

        I heard in high school that the boy he followed around and took orders from had become a drug addict with all the attendant problems, and God forgive me but I had no sympathy.  

        "Corporations exist not for themselves, but for the people." Ida Tarbell 1908.

        by Navy Vet Terp on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 03:53:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  VT-AG (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Sorrell claimed 2013-2015 would be his last race, but that wasn't the case.  his dem opponent, TJ Donovan is still the chittenden county district attorney so he may run again i 16 if sorrell finally retires.  There's also been speculation that dem house speaker shap smith is interested, but we'll see in 2016.

    NH-01. First time living in NH, waiting for the candidates to start a courting.

    by DougTuttle on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 02:21:37 PM PDT

  •  Admit it (6+ / 0-)

    You just wrote this post so you could pluralize "attorney general" in the title!

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 02:35:51 PM PDT

  •  Since the IL-AG race is not noteworthy... (4+ / 0-)

    ...I'll talk briefly about the Wisconsin AG Democratic primary. (Full disclosure: I am a Jon Richards supporter who has written several blog posts attacking Susan Happ and a couple attacking Ismael Ozanne).

    Jon Richards appears to be the frontrunner (although he barely got over 50% of the vote in the DPW straw poll, IIRC). He's run a great campaign so far, his long list of endorsements reads like a cross-section of Democratic elected officials in Wisconsin, he's also received endorsements from many unions, LGBT groups, and environmental groups, and presumptive GOP nominee Brad Schimel has attacked Jon Richards by name (which appears to be Schimel's way of indicating that he thinks that Richards is the strongest Dem candidate).

    Susan Happ is the least liberal of the three Democratic candidates (she's opposed to making first-offense drunk driving a misdemeanor and she's seen as soft on corruption, largely over not signing a recall petition against Republican State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald a couple of years ago despite the fact that Happ's hometown of Jefferson was in Fitzgerald's district at the time of the recall attempt against him). Additionally, Happ has largely avoided actual political issues, and she's running virtually her entire campaign on an electability argument. What few endorsements Happ has received, however, are big ones: AFSCME, the state's largest public-sector union, EMILY's List, and 2006 WI-AG Democratic nominee Kathleen Falk. Happ would probably need quite a few Republicans to cross-over and vote in the Democratic primary for her in order for Happ to have any chance of winning.

    Ismael Ozanne appears to be the most progressive of the three Democratic candidates at first glance (he's the only one who publicly supports creating a civil rights division within the Wisconsin Department of Justice, which currently lacks one), however, Ozanne is not liked on the left because he was the one who prosecuted the Solidarity Singers, a group of people who were arrested by Scott Walker's administration for singing in the rotunda of the Wisconsin State Capitol. Additionally, Ozanne's fundraising issues and lack of endorsements (Former Democratic AG Peg Lautenschlager and a few Dane County-based elected officials have endorsed Ozanne, but that's about it) means that Ozanne is probably going to end up in third place in the primary unless Brad Schimel's supporters cross-over and vote in the Democratic primary for Ozanne in an attempt to hand Schimel his least electable Democratic opponent.

    I'd give Richards a 70% chance of winning the primary and Happ a 30% chance of winning the primary.

    •  I'm voting for Richards (5+ / 0-)

      He'll make a great candidate for WI-Gov down the line.

    •  I think the WI AG prosecuted the Solidarity (4+ / 0-)

      Singers, not the Dane Cty DA.

      In fact I'm pretty sure of it, since a former college buddy of mine (asst. state AG) was the prosecuting attorney.

      I think the fundraising issues, and the lack of any explanation of them, are what puts Ozanne out. I think he'd be good as AG, and certainly a lot better than Van Hollen or Schimel, but when you've got three good candidates it doesn't take much to knock one out of consideration.

      You mention that Happ would require crossover votes from republicans. Is she actively soliciting crossovers?

      Screw John Galt. Who's John Doe?

      by Mike Kahlow on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 03:37:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Regarding Susan Happ... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mike Kahlow, MichaelNY, Puddytat

        ...she's talked about how she's won support from Republicans in previous elections, but I don't know of any concerted effort by the Happ campaign to convince Republicans to vote for her in the Democratic primary. If there is a concerted effort by Happ to court Republicans to vote for her in the Democratic primary, it's happening behind the scenes, since I haven't seen her mention any Republican endorsements on her campaign website or social media accounts connected to her campaign.

        I seem to remember Jeremy Ryan (a progressive activist who is running as a left-wing Republican against Paul Ryan in the 1st CD Republican primary) talking about Ozanne's office prosecuting the Solidarity Singers...that may have been incorrect information.

      •  Happ is certainly portraying crossover votes as... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mike Kahlow, MichaelNY, Puddytat

        Happ is certainly portraying crossover votes as a reason to vote for her, bringing up that she's won in GOP-leaning Jefferson County as DA.

        I like all 3, but I think Ozanne can't win, especially because it reignites all the Act 10 stuff and makes for an all-Dane County ticket (leaving it very open to attacks in other parts of the state).

        Richards has been a great state rep, and I think he'd kick ass as AG on the right issues. That's why I support him more than the others, but all 3 are certainly qualified- a lot more than that corrupt Waukesha County crook Schimel

    •  Drunk driving (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mike Kahlow, DownstateDemocrat

      I've never heard of lighter penalties for drunk driving being cited as a liberal issue, though I guess in a very strict sense, any lowering of penalties is theoretically liberal. I would probably support drunk driving being a misdemeanor for a first offense, but not if the drunk driver is involved in an accident with fatalities, and although I'm a lot more of a pragmatist than you are and probably a bit less leftist, I'm no conservative.

      For the purposes of analyzing elections and campaigns, I would doubt that being "soft on drunk driving" would be a popular position among voters of either major party, but I stand to be corrected.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 07:16:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ozanne is not disliked by the left (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I don't know of anyone who cares about his office's work on the Solidarity Sing Along case. He basically dismissed all the cases any way.

      You don't fight the fights you can win. You fight the fights that need fighting. -President Andrew Sheppard (D-Wisconsin)

      by Gpack3 on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 09:39:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Candidates avoiding issues (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I find it ironic that your knock on Happ is that she has tried to "avoid actual political issues."  In my opinion that's what a good attorney general should try to do as much as possible while in office.  Clearly there are times when you have to defend civil rights and defend the constitution against unconstitutional laws.  But why do both parties only decry "politicization of the AG's office" when it's the other party doing it, rather than looking in the mirror at themselves?

      Actually, after listening to Richards at the Dane Dems forum I'd say that he has tried really hard to only focus on political issues and avoid public safety issues, which would be great if he was running for governor or U.S. Senate and not so good when you're running for attorney general.  

      Honestly when I listened to Richards talk, I thought that his heart was in the right place but I also wondered why he was even in the race when his answers were so much more shallow than Ozanne or Happ.  It's almost to the point where if Richards wins the primary, I'd have to at least think about voting for Schimel--I probably wouldn't actually pull the trigger but I'd be really upset that for the third straight cycle we put forth an AG nominee with absolutely zero experience in the criminal justice system.  

      At this point I am hoping that Ozanne can hold down Richards' margins in Milwaukee with a strong share of the African-American vote (hey, it works for David Clarke) so that Happ can sneak through the middle and win the primary.

  •  Ohio — DeWine: a lot more happening here (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ArkDem14, pademocrat, Jacob1145

    It just broke this week that DeWine's office rigged a contract for collections to favor a company formed two days before bids were due by some crony/donors of his — evidence shows after consulting with his office. Now it appears that even their score may have been changed.

    DeWine is probably the most corrupt statewide official in Ohio, and if he is reelected (and I don't understand why he seems so invulnerable), I believe he is likely to be forced out of office before his term is up. Even your summary severely minimizes what we know, even before this week's scandal broke.

    On top of that DeWine has antagonized women and the LGBT community by using tax dollars to fight to impose his religious beliefs on all Ohioans — no recognition of out-of-state marriage, no contraception.

    Recently, the rape kit backlog hasn't been much on the front burner. David Pepper has been mainly hammering the heroin crisis, and the fact that DeWine and Kasich and the rest of the Republicans in Columbus have cut resources even while the problem is growing. DeWine has given some stumbling lip service to caring but he's not convincing.

    Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it.

    by anastasia p on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 04:57:23 PM PDT

  •  MI-AG (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MetroGnome, MichaelNY, pademocrat

    Mark Totten is running a great race, had a column published in the Detroit News (a Republican newspaper) this past week that took down Schuette over his support of the Halbig plaintiffs against Obamacare.

    The diary says this race "could be decided by outside factors", which is true in that Totten probably could not survive a Snyder landslide for re-election as Governor. But Schuette is less popular than Snyder, and considerably less well known, with practically no one able to point to anything he has done that has helped Michigan citizens. So I think that even of Schauer is unable to pull it out against Snyder, as long as that margin is held down, Totten still has an excellent chance of winning as AG.

    Mark E. Miller // Kalamazoo Township Trustee // MI 6th District Democratic Chair

    by memiller on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 05:03:05 PM PDT

    •  This (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY, Jacob1145

      Given the lack of name recognition for both candidates (really, Michigan?  You don't know your own horrible AG?), I think the top of the ticket will definitely be a significant factor, but I'm not sure it will be the factor.

      You're totally right.  I could totally see Schauer losing - god, I hate even typing that - and Totten pulling out a narrow win.  There is just enough of a disconnect between this race and the gubernatorial one for this to be a possibility.  This really strikes me as similar to the Ruth Johnson and Jocelyn Benson race in 2010, accept that the momentum is on the Democratic side, this cycle.  

      I can see Schuette losing by something like five points given Totten's strong challenge, and significant pick-ups in the state house.  He's a really good candidate, and, again, in the same mold of Jocelyn Benson in that they are both really uniquiely qualified for the office they are running for.  

      Totten's greatest weakness will be money, but that's usually the case for Democrats.  I think it happens to be more of a weakness in this cycle, however, even with most other factors working Democrats way given just how incredibly plugged in with corporations Snyder and Schuette are.  All other factors considered, this would be a wave year for Dems in Michigan, or at the very least high tide.  The money is the wildcard.  Money is where Citizens United not only comes in, but Michigan's recent raising (doubling) of the limit for individual campaign contributions.  Riggin the rules always seems to be how the GOP holds onto whatever it has in Michigan, because their policies are very rarely popular.

      Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Kodos.

      by MetroGnome on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 07:21:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for that great roundup! nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jeff Singer

    Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

    by MichaelNY on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 06:58:12 PM PDT

  •  NV (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, Jeff Singer

    Nice job at looking at important races, Thanks.  

    A small correction: Bob Miller was just Governor, not Senator, (his predecessor Richard Bryan was both Governor and Senator).

    Ross has a good campaign. but nothing is a given in this race.  

    ... the watchword of true patriotism: "Our country - when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right." - Carl Schurz; Oct. 17, 1899

    by NevDem on Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 10:51:53 PM PDT

  •  MN - Andy Dawkins (0+ / 0-)

    You missed an opportunity to mention that populist candidate Andy Dawkins is running in the Green ticket for AG in Minnesota. A lifelong Democrat, Andy and many Minnesotans are disappointed with the establishmentarian approach of Lori Swanson in office. Andy has charm and conviction, and Minnesota has a knack for amazing underdog triumphs -- Jesse Ventura, Paul Wellstone. Don't minimize Andy's chances for an upset!

  •  MN - Andy Dawkins (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks for the great summary across the country, but it was disappointing to see the truncated description of the Minnesota AG race.  Andy Dawkins, a former DFL state representative of 15 years, is running for Attorney General as the Green Party candidate, and has a great shot at putting a third-party AG into office.

    Andy has fought for ballot and voting reforms throughout his career, and really stepped forward in this race to not only reestablish the MN AG's office as professional and nonpartisan, but also to push back against the big money campaigns that currently control our elections and government.

    If nothing else, Andy's presence in this race has dramatically changed the dynamic, with him already polling at 7% shortly after filing.  You should consider updating the MN-AG description accordingly.

    •  I find your assertion extremely difficult (0+ / 0-)

      to believe. Has a Green ever won any state-wide office in MN? Not all 3rd parties are created equal.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 07:18:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I wish we had an alternative voting system (0+ / 0-)

      such as Approval Voting -- vote for as many candidates as you approve of -- that would allow third parties to find their true level of support, independent of strategic voting considerations. Then, I would be happy to vote for the Green candidate (my main issue) and the Democrat, until such time as the Green Party established itself as the main progressive standard bearer.

      Until that comes about, I will not be considering voting for Greens or others, or seeing them as anything other than a likely cause of progressive defeat. 7%!! So his candidacy accomplishes what, exactly?

      Mark E. Miller // Kalamazoo Township Trustee // MI 6th District Democratic Chair

      by memiller on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 06:05:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  SC AG Race (0+ / 0-)

    The Democrat in the race is Parnell Diggs. Parnell is a respected attorney that has argued cases before the federal appeals circuit as well as many other cases over 17 years as a lawyer.  Parnell would be SC's first blind AG, as well as the first blind person elected to statewide office in SC. He has served as President of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina since 2000.

    I realize he faces an uphill battle, but you could have at least included his name with a link.

    Bob Aubin Co-Chair West Ashley Democrats - Charleston, SC

    by BOBAUBIN com on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 08:39:44 AM PDT

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