Samuel S. Olens

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Samuel S. Olens
Sam Olens.png
Attorney General of Georgia
In office
January 10, 2011-present
Term ends
January 2019
Years in position 4
PredecessorThurbert E. Baker (D)
Base salary$137,791
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
First electedNovember 2, 2010
Campaign $$2,203,220
Term limitsNone
Prior offices
Cobb County Board of Commissioners
Bachelor'sAmerican University
Master'sAmerican University
J.D.Emory University School of Law (1983)
Date of birthJuly, 8, 1957
Place of birthMiami, Florida
Office website
Personal website
Campaign website
Samuel S. Olens (b. July 8, 1957, in Miami Florida) is the current Republican Attorney General of Georgia. He was elected in the November 2, 2010, general elections, and took office on January 10, 2011. He won re-election in 2014.[1]

Prior to becoming attorney general, he served as the chairman of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners.[2]

Olens' professional career has largely been in the legal profession. He worked at Ezor & Olens, P.C., from 1983 through 2010. Before becoming attorney general, Olens was also chairman of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners from August 2002 to March 2010. Previously, he was a Cobb County District Commissioner from 1999 through July 2002. Olens served as chairman of the Atlanta Regional Commission from December 2004 through 2009, and was vice-chair of the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District from 2005 through March 2010.[3]


Though native to Miami, Fla., Olens was raised mostly in New Jersey. He earned his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from American University before admission to Atlanta's Emory University School of Law brought him to the state which has since hosted and shaped his career.[4]

After graduating from law school in 1983, Olens worked for Ezor & Olens, P.C. until 2010.

Prior to his election as Georgia attorney general, Olens received a number of awards recognizing his work as a lawyer and community leader, including, but not limited to:

  • Liberty Bell Award (2005) from the Cobb Bar Association
  • Excellence in Public Service Award (2007) from the University of Georgia Carl Vinson Institute
  • Lexus Leader of the Arts Award (2007) from Public Broadcasting Atlanta
  • Tom Bradley Leadership Award (2008) from the National Association of Regional Councils


  • Bachelor's degree, American University in international politics
  • Master's degree, American University in international politics
  • Juris Doctorate degree, Emory University

Political career

Attorney General of Georgia (2011-present)

Olens was elected Attorney General of Georgia on November 2, 2010, and took office the following January. He succeeded Thurbert E. Baker (D), who had decided to run for governor in 2010 rather than seek re-election as attorney general.[5]

Olens' win in 2010 represented a victory of sorts for the state as well. For the first time in Georgia's history, a Jewish candidate was elected in a statewide, partisan race. Notwithstanding the patented Christianity of his conservative base, Olens understated the history-making implications of his win, indicating that geography (his New Jersey upbringing), rather than faith, was of greatest concern during the campaign.[6]


Ignoring law

Two consecutive chairmen of the Cobb County Commission, one of them Olens, the then-newly elected Republican State Attorney General, "told the county clerk to disregard a provision of a 27-year-old law that requires Cobb to document the actions of its county manager."[7] County officials, who, by law, are required to keep minutes, contend the requirement is cumbersome and outdated. Unlike the county chairman, the manager is not a publicly elected official who conducts business openly; the law, therefore, was devised as a means in which to keep tabs on the person in power. However, this provision is quite unusual, at least in Georgia, as "neither the Georgia Municipal Association nor the Association County Commissioners of Georgia are aware of other jurisdictions that have to record minutes of their city or county managers."[7] Time Lee, then-chairman of the Cobb County Commission, had said that the local government body had begun the process of repealing the measure in January 2011.

War against the tobacco industry

Olens refers to himself as an "adversary" in the war against the tobacco industry, stemming from the decision by big tobacco companies to challenge a multi-billion dollar settlement they made with states over 10 years ago. The suit had the potential to cost Georgia $120 million, a chunk of the state budget which, according to Olens, was substantial enough to justify his acceptance of a plane ride from a tobacco lobbyist. The ride was valued by the lobbyist at $1,500.[8]

Ensuring the government's legal rectitude (with respect to the Georgia Constitution) and the full accountability of its activities are fundamental responsibilities of the office. As Attorney General, Olens has crusaded for raising the government's ethical standards, with special attention to the issue of transparency. Although accepting the ride was not technically illegal, as it would be in some other states, the ethics issue remained, for many, in doubt.

Olens fielded considerable criticism for flying on the lobbyist's dime, but insisted that the transparency which led to the public's discovery of said flight should be paramount in assessing the legal and ethical defensibility of his choice. In response to a reporter's question of whether he would make the same choice again under similar circumstances, Olens said, "I'm going to follow the law. I'm going to be transparent. And where I can save the state potentially 120-plus million, I'm going to try and save the state that money."[8]


Healthcare reform
See also: State Attorneys General Against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010

Although his Democratic predecessor, Thurbert Baker, had refused Republican Governor Sonny Perdue's request to join the twenty-plus other state attorneys general in filing suit against the federal government over the newly enacted health care reform measure, believing that the states did not have "a viable legal claim against the United States," Olens disagreed.[9] In the midst of his campaign for state attorney general, Olens argued that the suit should not be bantered about as a "partisan issue" as the "law supersedes state sovereignty and the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution," a very serious issue.[10]

Presidential preference


See also: Endorsements by state officials of presidential candidates in the 2012 election

Samuel S. Olens endorsed Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. [11]

Cobb County Commissioner, Board member (1999-2010)

After having served as Cobb County District 3 Commissioner for three years starting in 1999, Olens was elected as chairman of the five-member Cobb County Board of Commissioners. Republican Governor Sonny Perdue appointed him to represent the 6th Congressional District on the state's Department of Community Affairs Board in 2003. He was re-elected as chairman of the Cobb County Commission in 2005, where he remained until April 2010 when he resigned in order to concentrate on his attorney general campaign.[12]



See also: Georgia attorney general election, 2014

Olens won re-election to a second term as Attorney General of Georgia in 2014.[13] Olens was unopposed for the Republican nomination in the primary on May 20, 2014, and overtook one challenger, Democrat Greg Hecht, in the general election. The general election took place November 4, 2014.


Georgia Attorney General, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngSamuel S. Olens Incumbent 56.9% 1,436,987
     Democratic Greg Hecht 43.1% 1,087,268
Total Votes 2,524,255
Election Results via Georgia Secretary of State.


See also: Georgia Attorney General election, 2010

Olens announced his candidacy for attorney general in April of 2009. A little over a year later, Olens placed first in the Republican primary on Tuesday, July 20, 2010, but failed to garner enough popular support to avoid a runoff contest.[14] He officially secured the party nomination three weeks later in the Republican primary runoff on August 10, 2010.[15]

2010 Race for Attorney General - Republican Primary[16]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Samuel S. Olens 39.9%[17]
     Republican Party Preston Smith 30.6%
     Republican Party Max Wood 29.5%
Total Votes 576,492
2010 Race for Attorney General - Republican Primary Run-Off[18]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Samuel S. Olens 58.9%
     Republican Party Preston Smith 41.1%
Total Votes 508,853
2010 Race for Attorney General - General Election[19]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Samuel S. Olens 52.9%
     Democratic Party Ken Hodges 43.6%
     Libertarian Party Don Smart 3.5%
Total Votes 2,551,722

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Olens is available dating back to 2010. Based on available campaign finance records, Olens raised a total of $2,203,220 during that time period. This information was last updated on July 8, 2013.[20]

Samuel S. Olens's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Attorney General of Georgia Not up for election $427,019
2010 Attorney General of Georgia Won $1,776,201
Grand Total Raised $2,203,220


Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Sam Olens's donors each year.[21] Click [show] for more information.

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Olens and his wife, Lisa, have two children named Lauren and Jonathan.[22]

Contact information


Capitol Address:
Office of the Attorney General
40 Capitol Square, SW
Atlanta, Ga 30334

Phone: (404) 656-3300
Fax: (404) 657-8733

See also

External links

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Campaign links

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  1. Sam Olens for Attorney General 2014 Official campaign website, "Homepage," accessed April 1, 2014
  2. Attorney General of Georgia, " Biography of the Attorney General," accessed August 27, 2013
  3. Attorney General of Georgia, "Biography of the Attorney General," accessed September 12, 2011
  4. Sam Olens, "Meet Sam," accessed August 27, 2013
  5. Fresh Loaf, "WSB: Sam Olens to run for attorney general" 21 April, 2009
  6. Blogs: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Sam Olens breaks through an ancient Georgia barrier," November 6, 2012
  7. 7.0 7.1 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Cobb County manager law not followed" 13 Nov. 2010
  8. 8.0 8.1, "Olens:I took lobbyist trip to save state money," January 31, 2012
  9. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Thurbert Baker’s answer to Sonny Perdue: Health care lawsuit a waste of money" 24 March, 2010
  10. Paulding County Republican Examiner, "Sam Olen's statements regarding Healthcare lawsuit" 14 Sept. 2010
  11. The American Presidency Project, "Mitt Romney Announces Support of Georgia Elected Officials and Leaders," October 27, 2011
  12. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Cobb Commission Chairman Sam Olens resigns" 5 April, 2010
  13. Georgia Secretary of State, "Qualifying Candidate Information: Attorney General," March 6, 2014
  14. Georgia Secretary of State - 2010 Primary Election Results
  15. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Olens wins GOP runoff for attorney general" 10 Aug. 2010
  16. Georgia Secretary of State - 2010 Republican Attorney General Primary Election Results
  17. Even though Sam Olens received the most votes, he failed to receive over fifty percent of those votes required by Georgia state law. A runoff election between the top two vote recipients, therefore, was required to decide who went on to the general election.
  18. Georgia Secretary of State - 2010 Republican Attorney General Primary Election Results
  19. Georgia Secretary of State - 2010 Attorney General General Election Results
  20. Follow the Money, "Career fundraising for Sam Olens," accessed July 8, 2013
  21. Follow the, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015
  22. Project Vote Smart, "Biography: Sam Olens," accessed January 17, 2013

Political offices
Preceded by
Thurbert Baker (D)
Georgia Attorney General
Succeeded by