Mark Totten

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Mark Totten
Mark Totten.jpg
Former candidate for
Attorney General of Michigan
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sCedarville College
J.D.Yale University
Ph.D.Yale University
ProfessionLaw professor
Campaign website
Mark Totten campaign logo
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Mark Totten was a Democratic candidate for Attorney General of Michigan in the 2014 elections.[1] His campaign was focused on crime prevention, consumer protection from predatory lenders and government transparency. Jump to the campaign themes section to learn more about Totten's campaign priorities. Mark Totten lost the general election on November 4, 2014.

Totten was a Democratic candidate for District 20 in the Michigan State Senate in the November 2, 2010, state legislative elections. He was defeated by Robert Jones in the Democratic primary in August 2010.


After graduating from Yale University, Totten worked as an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice. He currently works as a criminal law professor at Michigan State University.[2]


  • B.A., Cedarville College
  • J.D., Yale University
  • Ph.D., ethics, Yale University[2]



See also: Michigan attorney general election, 2014

Totten ran for election to the office of Attorney General of Michigan in 2014.[3] He faced Republican incumbent Bill Shuette and three minor party opponents in the general election. The general election took place November 4, 2014.


Attorney General of Michigan, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngBill Schuette Incumbent 52.1% 1,603,471
     Democratic Mark Totten 44.2% 1,359,839
     Libertarian Justin Altman 1.9% 57,345
     U.S. Taxpayers Gerald T. Van Sickle 1% 30,762
     Green John Anthony La Pietra 0.8% 25,747
Total Votes 3,077,164
Election Results via Michigan Department of State.


Totten received endorsements in this election, including the following:[4]

  • SEIU Michigan State Council
  • Michigan Education Association (MEA) Democratic Educators Caucus
  • Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council
  • Michigan Association for Justice (MAJ)
  • United Food & Commercial Workers Local 951
  • Kurt Asbury, Bay County Prosecutor
  • Sheriff Gary Ballweg, Delta County
  • Everette Ayers, Crawford County Prosecutor
  • Ed Black, Alpena County Prosecutor
  • Sheriff George Braidwood, Shiawassee County

Campaign themes

Totten's campaign website listed the following themes for the 2014 race:

Justice for Victims and Preventing Crime

Justice for victims.

A few years ago Mark began service as a volunteer federal prosecutor, in addition to his full-time work teaching at MSU College of Law. Lending his expertise in appeals, Mark took on a series of challenging cases and won critical decisions that not only kept dangerous offenders behind bars, but strengthened the laws across Michigan to prevent future crimes and more victims.

Mark worked tirelessly, at times giving more than 50 hours of volunteer service a week to protect Michigan families. His tough advocacy protected children from child predators, victims of domestic violence from their abusers, and senior-citizens and low-income folks from predatory lenders. Mark has ensured justice for victims and he’ll do the same as Attorney General.

Preventing crime; not just reacting to it.

Like any prosecutor, Mark loves winning a case. At the same time, he understands it’s far better to prevent a crime from happening in the first place. Just talking tough on crime – while acting dumb on crime – leaves us less safe. Here’s a few ways Mark will be smart on crime.

Advocate for education. The evidence is undeniable that kids who drop out of school are much more likely to enter a life of crime. And so the next time the legislature considers yet another round of cuts to public education and the resources our schools need to educate children, Mark will make sure the legislature, the Governor, and the public clearly understand the implications for public safety of the continued assault on public education.

Champion prisoner re-entry programs. The old approach of simply warehousing idle prisoners and then dumping them on the streets after they’ve served their sentence has failed. That approach means more crime and more victims. Mark will support and expand programs like Prison Re-Entry, which prepares prisoners who have served their time to transition back into society as working, law-abiding citizens.

Protecting Families from Foreclosures and Financial Harm

Michigan has been one of the states hardest hit by the financial crisis. Whether by foreclosure, falling home prices, or the loss of jobs that followed, we’ve all been harmed.

As Attorney General, Mark Totten will lead the fight to protect Michigan families. He’ll demand accountability from wrongdoers, including predatory lenders as well as their Wall Street backers. He’ll fight to recover losses for victims. And he’ll push for necessary new laws and strong enforcement to ensure these harms never happen again.

When fifteen state attorneys general around the nation filed lawsuits against Standard and Poor’s – the credit rating agency on Wall Street that said everything was safe and sound in the years leading up to the crisis – Michigan’s Attorney General was nowhere to be found. When corporations harm people, Mark will be the People’s Lawyer.

Standing-Up for Consumers

Mark will fight to repeal Schuette’s drug immunity law, which Schuette championed and passed in 1995, making Michigan the only state in the nation that gives drug companies complete immunity when their products harm or even kill parents and children – as long as the drug was FDA-approved.

Moreover, Bill Schuette has failed to defend Michigan’s Consumer Protection Act. This critical law protects people who are harmed by products they buy or services they use. As a result, Michigan’s consumer protections are some of the weakest in the nation. As Michigan’s Attorney General, Mark Totten will restore consumer protections in Michigan and use those powers to protect Michigan citizens who suffer harm.

Ensuring Ethics and Transparency in Government

Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act and Open Meetings Act protect the political process: they don’t guarantee outcomes, but they ensure decision making happens in the sunlight and subject to public scrutiny. Without these vital laws, voters would be unable to hold their elected officials accountable at the polls.

The Governor’s recent “Skunk Works” project – a stealth campaign to reshape public education with a voucher-like system that was shielded from public scrutiny by conducting official business on personal emails – exposed one of many weakness in the system. As Attorney General, Mark Totten would issue a formal opinion to close these loopholes.

Serving Those Who've Served

The Attorney General has a special responsibility to protect our military service members and veterans – to serve those who serve. Michigan citizens serving abroad should never return home to find their homes foreclosed. And when the call to serve comes, they should be able to fulfill their mission without worrying about predatory schemes targeting them or their families.

When over twenty attorneys general took on – a marketing scheme by for-profit colleges that deceptively presented themselves to veterans as a federally-sponsored website – Michigan was missing in action. Mark Totten won’t just talk about serving those who serve; he’ll fight as hard for our servicemen and women at home as they fight for us abroad.

Preserving Our Great Lakes and Great Outdoors

Michigan is blessed with the second longest coastline in the nation, the world’s largest bodies of fresh water, towering sand dunes, rugged cliffs, endless rivers, and deep forests. Hikers and hunters, boaters and beachgoers, paddlers and photographers – and everyone else who simply likes to go for a walk in the woods or a stroll on the beach – love what Michigan offers.

But without active care and accountability, Michigan’s Great Lakes and Great Outdoors will suffer. And what Michiganders love today will not be here tomorrow, let alone for future generations.

The Michigan Attorney General plays a critical role protecting our lakes and lands. All the laws on the books are meaningless without an active AG who enforces the law. As AG, Mark will hold polluters accountable and send the message to would-be-polluters that the costs of wrongdoing far outweigh any perceived benefits of breaking the law. [5]

—Mark Totten's campaign website, (2014) [6]


Totten was defeated by Robert Jones in the August Democratic primary.[7]

Michigan State Senate, District 20, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngRobert Jones Incumbent 62.9% 6,578
     Democratic Mark Totten 37.1% 3,876
Total Votes 10,454


Totten and his wife, Kristin, have two children.[2]

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