Partisan dominance of state attorney general positions, before and after November 2, 2010

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2010 AG Elections
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By Joseph Kastner and Leslie Graves

2010 Attorney General Races

Democrats

Before election: 32

Predicted after election: 25
Toss-up
1
Republicans

Before election: 18

Predicted after election: 24
15 Safe or Not Up 8 2 1 7 8 9 Safe or Not Up

26 state AG seats needed for majority

Safe D Likely Dem. Leans Dem. Toss Up Leans GOP Likely GOP Safe R
DE: Biden (D)
MD: Gansler (D)
Not up:
KY: Conway (D)[1]
LA: Caldwell (D)
ME: Mills (D)[2]
MS: Hood (D)
MO: Koster (D)
MT: Bullock (D)
NH: Delaney (D)
NJ: Dow (D)[3]
NC: Cooper (D)
OR: Kroger (D)
TN: Cooper (D)[4]
WV: McGraw (D)
Pick-up contingent on anticipated
result of gubernatorial election:

HI: Bennett (R)[3]
AR: McDaniel (D)
CT: Open (D)
IL: Madigan (D
MN: Swanson (D)
NV: Masto (D)
NM: King (D)
RI: Open (D)
VT: Bill Sorrell (D)
MA: Coakley (D)
NY: Open (D)
IA: Mauro (D) AL: Strange (R)[5]
CO: Suthers (R)
FL: Open (R)
MI: Open (R)


Possible R pick-ups:
CA: Open (D)
KS: Six (D)
OH: Cordray (D)
ND: Stenehjem (R)
SC: Open (R)
SD: Jackley (R)
TX: Abbott (R)
WI: Van Hollen (R)

Possible R pick-ups:
AZ: Open (D)
GA: Open (D)
OK: Open (D)
ID: Wasden (R)
NE: Bruning (R)
Not up:
IN: Zoeller (R)
PA: Corbett (R)[6]
UT: Shurtleff (R)
VA: Cuccinelli (R)
WA: McKenna (R)
Contingent on anticipated
result of gubernatorial election:

AK: Sullivan (R)[3]

Pick-up contingent on anticipated
result of gubernatorial election:

WY: Salzburg (D)[3]
NevadaUtahColoradoNew MexicoWyomingArizonaMontanaCaliforniaOregonWashingtonIdahoTexasOklahomaKansasNebraskaSouth DakotaNorth DakotaMinnesotaIowaMissouriArkansasLouisianaMississippiAlabamaGeorgiaFloridaSouth CarolinaIllinoisWisconsinTennesseeNorth CarolinaIndianaOhioKentuckyPennsylvaniaNew JerseyNew YorkVermontVermontNew HampshireMaineWest VirginiaVirginiaMarylandMarylandConnecticutConnecticutDelawareDelawareRhode IslandRhode IslandMassachusettsNew HampshireMichiganMichiganAlaskaHawaiiAg 2010 election map.png

Summary

With a week left until the 2010 midterm elections, we are predicting that, out of the thirty State AG contests, Republicans will win eighteen of these races while the Democrats will come away with twelve. Of these eighteen elections the Republican Party is projected to win, seven of them - Arizona, California, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Ohio, and Oklahoma - will have been offices that were previously held by Democrats.

The big question, of course, is how this will alter the balance of power between the two major political parties. Previously, Democrats held a clear majority – 32 statewide positions to 18 for the Republicans. Out of the four state attorney general positions in which the office holder is appointed by the governor of the state, three of them are up for election in November. While Alaska is expected to remain with the Republican Party, two states - Hawaii and Wyoming - are anticipated to switch allegiances. Prior to Republican Governor Linda Lingle appointing Mark J. Bennett as the Hawaii's chief law enforcement officer, Democrats had been in control of the statewide office for over forty years. With Lingle's projected defeat, it should return under Democratic control at the start of the new year. The governorship in Wyoming, on the other hand, which last went to the Democrats in 2006, will likely return to the Republican Party with the state attorney general's office along with it. Two other State AGs - Pennsylvania's Tom Corbett and Jack Conway from Kentucky - ran for higher office; Corbett for governor and Conway for Senate. Both, however, are predicted to remain in the hands of the parties in power.

Effect of 2010 Elections on AG Make-up
Category Democrats Republicans
Current party of AGs with 2010 elections 20 10
Gubernatorial appointment/Gov with 2010 election 1 2
Gubernatorial appointment/Gov without 2010 election 1 0
Elected by State Legislature/Leg with 2010 election 2 0
AGs with no 2010 impact 8 6
Total 32 18

If these predictions all hold true, the fifty state attorney general offices will be split right down the middle with each major political party maintaining twenty-five statewide positions.

Joe Kastner does the race-tracking analysis for State Attorney General elections, and for the 2010 Secretary of State elections. E-mail him (kastner.joseph@gmail.com) with any questions or concerns.

References

  1. Conway is currently seeking the United States Senate seat held by retiring Democrat Chris Dodd. If elected, Democratic Governor Steve Beshear would name his replacement.
  2. This statewide office holder is elected by the state legislature.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 The governor of the state appoints the statewide office holder.
  4. The Tennessee Supreme Court appoints the office holder.
  5. The Republican incumbent, Troy King, lost in the primary to Republican challenger Luther Strange. The seat is judged to be safe for the Republican Party, but will have a different officeholder.
  6. Corbett appears likely to win the state's gubernatorial contests in November 2010. If he wins, as governor, he would be able to appoint his replacement.