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Republican Party projected to pick up 6 state Attorney General seats on November 2

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October 24, 2010

2010 AG Elections
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General Election Results

By Joseph Kastner and Leslie Graves

In Ballotpedia's coverage of the 2010 State Attorney General elections, this is our third and final race-tracking prediction of predicted outcomes.

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
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With the 2010 midterm election nearly a week away, we are set to make final predictions in the thirty state attorney general contests scheduled for the ballot on Tuesday, November 2nd. Bear in mind, however, that as with any election events can/will occur up to the very last minute that may in the end sway voters one way or another. Additionally, a number of these contests hinge on turn out of "top of the ticket" races such as governor, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House, many of which are still up in the air.

Before examining each individual race more closely, let’s step back a bit and provide a little background on the state attorney general elections as a whole.

Background

Thirty attorney general elections are scheduled for November 2, 2010. Of the 30 seats up for election, 20 are currently held by a Democrat and 10 by a Republican.

In three of the seats up for election, the incumbent cannot run again because of term limits. Of the three incumbent but limited-out attorneys general, two are Democrats and one is Republican:

Several incumbent attorneys general have chosen not to run for re-election, in most cases because they are running for a different office. As of mid-April 2010, it is known that seven incumbent attorneys general who could run again (five are Democrats and two are Republicans) are voluntarily choosing not to seek re-election.

At this point in the 2010 election cycle, all signature-filling deadlines in each of the respective 30 states with attorney general elections have lapsed and all primary contests have been held.

For each of the 30 State Attorney General races in 2010, I have placed the expected outcome in one of 7 classifications. The 7 classifications are Safe Democrat, Likely Democrat, Leans Democrat, Toss-up, Leans Republican, Likely Republican and Safe Republican. These are the standard 7 classifications typically used by organizations such as Congressional Quarterly when assessing the likely outcomes of races for U.S. Congress and governor.

For the methodology of this racetracking analysis, see State Attorneys General/Election Racetracking

Alabama

Main article: Alabama Attorney General election, 2010
Alabama

In one of the bigger upsets in the lower-ticket races this year, Birmingham attorney Luther Strange handily defeated Republican incumbent Troy King in the state’s primary election; King’s office has been battling corruptions charges for at least the past year, so it isn’t surprising to see voters fed up with it. Strange will face off against James Anderson, a lawyer from Montgomery, who has run a relatively low-key campaign. While Anderson certainly has the backing of a local police union, the State Fraternal Order of Police, Strange has garnered the support of far more politically recognizable figures, including former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who has led the charge against Obamacare.

Projected Winner: Republican

Arizona

Main article: Arizona Attorney General election, 2010
Arizona

In spite of a bitter and hotly contested primary battle that dragged on nearly a week after all the initial votes were collected, as a result of recounts, State Superintendent Tom Horne appears poised to be the state’s next attorney general. Two surveys – on from Moore Information and the other from Wilson Research Strategies – have pegged his margin of victory somewhere between 8 and 18 percentage points.[1][2] However, both polls were conducted on behalf of Horne’s campaign, so they should be taken with a little bit of salt. The chief factor that decides who wins in the general election may be an issue both state and national Democratic leaders felt confident was a winning issue for them – the controversial SB 1070. Democratic candidates who once backed national boycotts of the state over the anti-illegal immigration measure are now reversing themselves in light of both the damping economic environment and the solid popularity of the bill itself. Felecia Rotellini, the Democratic nominee in the race for state attorney general, received $4,136 in campaign contributions from the United Food and Commercial Workers, a union who has been an avid supporter of the national boycott meant to cripple the economy of the state. Her pleading of ignorance over the contribution and her refusal to return the donations has been a winning issue for Horne.[3] And while Rotellini has gained the backing of a few prominent State Republican leaders, namely Grant Wood, the backlash against these “turncoats” has vastly overshadowed any benefit she may have gotten out of them.[4][5]

Projected Winner: Republican PICKUP

Arkansas

Main article: Arkansas Attorney General election, 2010
Arkansas

There isn't that much that needs to be said about the contest in Arkansas other then Democratic incumbent Dustin McDaniel should easily be able to brush off third party competition to secure a second term in office.

Projected Winner: Democrat

California

Main article: California Attorney General election, 2010

As reported in the last two Ballotpedia Race Tracker reports, the contest between Republican Steve Cooley, the former District Attorney of Los Angeles, and Democratic San Francisco D.A. Kamala Harris has been a tight one with poll numbers suggesting Cooley had a slight advantage over his opponent; very little has changed in a month’s time. However, a new survey has thrown a bit of a curve ball into the mix.

The latest Field Research poll conducted in mid-September shows that Cooley ever so slowly has inched up his lead over Harris to four percentage points.[6] And while the number of undecided likely voters increased from twenty-nine percent to thirty-four percent, this can likely be attributed to the two hundred person difference in the number of individuals surveyed in the two polls. What can be deciphered from the results is that among voters who intend to mail in their ballots in advance of November 2, Cooley holds a solid ten percentage point advantage; Harris, on the other hand, maintains a very slim one percentage point lead with precinct voters.

David Binder Research, based out of San Francisco, California, however, surveyed 800 likely voters from across California between September 23 and 27, 2010 and found for the first time Democratic nominee Kamala D. Harris with a slight lead in the State Attorney General race.[7] While Binder Research attributes the shift in support to the consolidation of the Democratic base and a plurality of independent and female voters backing the San Francisco D.A., the numbers don't quite jive given that Field Research surveyed likely state voters barely two days before. A quick Google search demonstrates though that Harris, along with a significant number of other prominent Democratic politicians, including Obama for America, hired David Binder Research to conduct the survey, though the article by Legal Newsline never mentioned that item.[8]

Party turn-out on Election Day, particularly for “top of the ticket” races such as the gubernatorial contest between Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman as well as the U.S. Senate match-up between Carla Fiorina and Barbara Boxer may be the deciding factor as to who ultimately wins the attorney general seat; both are near dead heats. Support among two high-profile state ballot measures could also play a significant role. Though both candidates have come out against Proposition 19, which would legalize various marijuana-related activities, allow local governments to regulate these activities, permit local governments to impose and collect marijuana-related fees and taxes, and authorize various criminal and civil penalties, it seems as though supporters this measure would be more inclined to vote Democratic. On the other hand, Proposition 23, which would suspend AB 32 "until the state's unemployment rate drops significantly for a year-long period," could lend tremendous weight toward Cooley, though the Republican candidate has not taken an official stance on it; Harris, however, has actively opposed it.[9] The latest polling data that a near majority back Proposition 19, but support for Proposition 23 is behind by double-digits.[10]

Projected Winner: Republican PICKUP

Colorado

Main article: Colorado Attorney General election, 2010
Colorado

While State Democratic leaders had earlier in the year expressed enthusiasm for Boulder County D.A. Stan Garnett challenging Republican incumbent John W. Suthers for State Attorney General, it hasn’t translated into voter turnover if the latest poll numbers says anything about the contest. Magellan Data and Mapping Strategies, a Louisville-based data/information/technology consulting firm, randomly telephoned 954 likely Colorado voters between August 25 and 26, 2010 via an automated system.[11] The polling data shows that Republican incumbent Suthers holds a comfortable fifteen percentage point lead over his Democratic challenger, Garnett. A closer examination of the survey numbers brings to attention something far more intriguing - eighty-four percent of Republicans interviewed support Suthers while only sixty-nine percent of Democrats back his opponent. In spite of the epic political meltdown that has defined the gubernatorial contest for the Republican Party, Suthers should be able to win a second term in office.

Projected Winner: Republican

Connecticut

Main article: Connecticut Attorney General election, 2010
Connecticut

Although the fiercely competitive United States Senate race between Democratic AG Richard Blumenthal and Republican Linda McMann has the potential of turning power of Chris Dodd's old seat to the Republicans, this level of enthusiasm, however, has not translated down the ticket. As may be the case with Tea Party-backed United States Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell, there are concerns that Republican nominee Martha Dean is campaigning too far to the right in a state that is typically a Democratic stronghold. Additionally, nothing has been brought up against former State Senator George C. Jepsen to even put a dent in his “nice guy” persona. This would in the minds of voters be a welcome change from Blumenthal who some feel is too conniving and politically opportunistic. Dean hasn’t come off as nicely as Jepsen after a bitterly fought primary contest. Regardless of how the Senate race turns out, the statewide office of attorney general will likely remain in Democratic hands.

Projected Winner: Democrat

Delaware

Main article: Delaware Attorney General election, 2010
Delaware

Despite assures from the Delaware Republican Party's Office earlier this year that every office would be contested, an opponent to Democratic incumbent State Attorney General Beau Biden has failed to materialize. Biden appears likely to face re-election this November unchallenged with the signature-filing deadline for the state having passed on July 13, 2010. There is was a slight chance a Republican opponent would yet emerge as "state law allows a party chairman to appoint a candidate as late as Sept. 1 for offices for which there is no primary election."[12] However, the deadline came and went with no nominee, so Biden will easily coast to a second term.

Projected Winner: Democrat

Florida

Main article: Florida Attorney General election, 2010
Florida

Former prosecutor and political novice Pam Bondi may owe a lot of her support to former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, who endorsed her campaign late in the primary season.[13][14] Upon receiving her backing, Bondi quickly emerged as the front runner for the Republican nomination, which, until that point, had been designated to Lieutenant Governor Jeff Kottkamp. That enthusiasm has successfully transferred to the general election campaign, no doubted aided by Republican support for higher ticket contests including the three-way battle for the United States Senate. Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc., an independent polling firm and the nation's most active state polling organization, surveyed 625 likely voters from across Florida between October 4 and 6, 2010.[15] With three weeks remaining until the general election on Tuesday, November 2nd, Pam Bondi maintains the lead over her Democratic opponent, State Senator Dan Gelber, though it has shrunk down to five percentage points from twelve in the Public Opinion Strategies poll; twenty-one percent of those interviewed still remain uncommitted to either candidate at this point. A lot could depend on how both the gubernatorial and the U.S. Senate contests turn out, but Bondi appears to have the wind at her back.

Projected Winner: Republican

Georgia

Main article: Georgia Attorney General election, 2010
Georgia

After two hectic primaries (and a runoff on the Republican side), the state attorney general contest in Georgia has died down quite a bit in the lead up to the general election. State Democratic leaders are not exactly enthusiastic about the chances of Ken Hodges, the former District Attorney of Dougherty County, given all the political baggage he carries with him. Aided by statewide Republican support for gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal, Samuel S. Olens has a clear shot at regaining the AG office from the Democrats. A poll of 599 likely voters from across the state conducted in mid-September by Survey USA shows Republicans maintaining double-digit leads in all contests, including the one for state attorney general.[16] More importantly, however, the numbers also point out that Olens garnered the support of 43% of those voters who identified themselves as independents; Hodges secured 25% followed closely with 21% by Libertarian candidate, Don Smart. Unless something dramatic happens, consider this an easy Republican pickup.

Projected Winner: Republican PICKUP

Idaho

Main article: Idaho Attorney General election, 2010
Idaho

Republican incumbent Lawrence Wasden faced no opposition and therefore will coast to a third term.

Projected Winner: Republican

Illinois

Main article: Illinois Attorney General election, 2010
Illinois

Stephen H. Kim, a former Special Assistant to then-Governor Jim Edgar, seemed like a long shot to unseat Democratic incumbent Lisa Madigan whose adoptive father has served as Speaker of the State House for all but two years since 1983 and who was at one time poised to campaign for Barack Obama’s former senate seat. Polling numbers from Suffolk University only confirm this assumption with Madigan easily trumping Kim by a margin of 63 to 14 percentage points.[17] State Democrats may be in trouble with both the gubernatorial and U.S. Senate contests, but there is no reason to suspect this office will change hands.

Projected Winner: Democrat

Iowa

Main article: Iowa Attorney General election, 2010
Iowa

This is quite possibly one of the toughest AG races to predict. A number of factors that could alter the course of the campaign between late-July, the last time a poll was released in regards to this contest, and now, but there is no indication as where voter sentiment lies. The Voter-Consumer Research survey, published on August 3rd, 2010, showed Brenna Findley, the Republican candidate and Chief of Staff to Congressman Steve King, fifteen points behind incumbent Democrat Tom Miller. In spite of Miller’s seemingly comfortable lead, the fact that the sixteen year office holder was only garnering forty-one percent in terms of support had to be troubling for his campaign.[18] Anything below the safety of the fifty-percent mark has suggested to some that Miller has left the door open to Findley.

While few voters across the state know who Findley is, her campaign can control whether that's still true on November 2. What Findley has right now is the enthusiastic support of Iowa Republicans. As a result, she has been able to raise eight times as much as her Democratic opponent in terms of campaign contributions in May 2010, according to campaign finance reports.[19][20][21] Since the last poll was conducted, Findley has garnered the endorsements of a number of significant Republican political figures, including former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Alaska and Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin, Representative Mike Pence, and former Senator Rick Santorum. How will these along with her vigorous campaigning in the last three months factor into the race? It’s hard to say with very little to go on. With State Democratic politicians, specifically incumbent Governor Chet Culver, taking a hit in the run up to the general election, it is possible voter spillover from the top of the ticket contests could significant boost Findley’s numbers. Call it a coin-flip – Republicans take control of the statewide office for the first time in sixteen-plus years.

Projected Winner: Republican PICKUP

Kansas

Main article: Kansas Attorney General election, 2010
Kansas

As with a number of other Midwestern states, including Michigan and Ohio, State Democrats appear likely to take significant losses across the board in Kansas on Election Day. The unpopular fiscal policy of Mark Parkinson, who is not running for a full term, and his predecessor, Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, have propelled Republican Senator Sam Brownback to the forefront of the gubernatorial race. State Attorney General Stephen Six, who was appointed to the statewide position in 2008 by Sebelius, has almost certainly felt the anti-Democrat/incumbent backlash. His blatant refusal to even consider joining the twenty other State AGs who have filed suit against the federal mandate on health insurance will likely hurt him in the minds of voters. While Six insisted his decision was not based on politics, a number of critics felt his response was based largely on loyalty to Sebelius, who, as HHS secretary, will now wield significant power over the national health care industry.[22] The overwhelming passage of Prop C in Missouri, a state Kansas has a shared history with, will undoubtedly have an impact on this issue as well.

In addition to the latest polling numbers from Survey USA placing State Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt, the Republican nominee in the race, with a nine percentage point advantage over Six, he also garnered a fair number of prominent endorsements including former Governor Bill Graves and former United States senators Bob Dole and Chuck Hagel.[23] Count this contest as a Republican pickup.

Projected Winner: Republican PICKUP

Maryland

Main article: Maryland Attorney General election, 2010
Maryland

Democratic incumbent Doug Gansler faced no opposition in his bid for a second term as state attorney general, so it will remain firmly in Democratic hands this November.

Projected Winner: Democrat

Massachusetts

Main article: Massachusetts Attorney General election, 2010
Massachusetts

Less then a month ago, failed senatorial candidate Martha Coakley appeared poised for a second term as Massachusetts Attorney General. The State Republican Party had failed to name a candidate by the May 4th signature deadline to run against her, this in spite of Coakley’s political vulnerability following her surprising loss to Scott Brown last January. But then a Millsbury attorney names James P. McKenna launched a write-in campaign that required 10,000 votes be cast for him in the state's September 14th primary if his name were to appear on the general election ballot.[24] Quite surprisingly, McKenna received 27,711 write-in votes, nearly three times the number he needed.[25]

While McKenna certainly has momentum on his side with only five weeks left until the general election, he lags far behind in terms of financial contributions; the latest reports from the Massachusetts Office of Political and Campaign Finance shows Coakley ahead with over fifty-grand to McKenna’s four-thousand dollars. Although his chances at pulling off an upset against Coakley appear slim, they are not at all impossible. The State Democratic Party certainly gives off the feeling as if they perceive him as a serious threat, particularly when they file a complaint against him for supposedly violating state campaign finance laws, an issue he has since resolved.[26] The only survey of voters for this race was conducted by Opinion Dynamics Corporation, a leading national, full-service market research firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, between October 7 and 10, 2010. Out of the 431 registered voters they interviewed, support for McKenna was only behind Coakley's by nine percentage points.[27]

That said, however, the likelihood of winning as a write-in candidate, regardless of national voter sentiment, is very small. What could have been an easy pickup, or, at the very least, a well fought and close campaign, will likely results in Coakley winning a second term in office.

Projected Winner: Democrat

Michigan

Main article: Michigan Attorney General election, 2010
Michigan

In spite of the controversy surrounding Mike Cox and an assistant in his office overshadowing the campaign for the past month, former Judge Bill Schuette has a significant foothold in the race. Public Policy Polling, a Democratic Party-affiliated polling firm based out of Raleigh, North Carolina, surveyed 497 likely Michigan voters from across the state between September 17 and 19, 2010 and found Schuette with a seven percentage point advantage over his Democratic opponent, David Leyton.[28] Among unaffiliated or independent voters, a much sought after voter demographic, especially this year, there was a fifteen percentage point gap between the major party candidates with Schuette leading the way. Given the current economic turmoil the state is under, the State Republican Party is widely expected to make significant gains in nearly all the major statewide offices this November. Expect the position of state attorney general to be one of them.

Projected Winner: Republican

Minnesota

Main article: Minnesota Attorney General election, 2010
Minnesota

Minnesota is one of the few states, especially in the Midwestern region of the nation, where Democrats are not expected to take significant hits in the general election. The gubernatorial contest appears deadlocked at this point, so don’t expect as much of a trickle-down effect in the lower ticket races. Additionally, while no poll numbers have been published in regards to the state attorney general race, media consensus seems to suggest that attorney Chris Barden, who launched his campaign the day before receiving the endorsement of the State Republican Party at their annual convention, has never gotten his campaign off the ground properly. Democrats have this statewide office locked down.

Projected Winner: Democrat

Nebraska

Main article: Nebraska Attorney General election, 2010
Nebraska

Republican incumbent Jon Bruning will go unopposed in November and therefore will coast to an easy third term.

Projected Winner: Republican

Nevada

Main article: Nevada Attorney General election, 2010
Nevada

Considering that twenty-one percent of the electorate voted for “neither candidate” in the state Republican primary, it should not come as a complete surprise that Travis Barrick is trailing Democratic incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto by double-digits.[29] And while, according to Mason-Dixon, Masto’s support stands below fifty percent, a very precarious situation to be in for any incumbent, especially this year, it has been extremely difficult for a candidate with little, if any, name recognition to match her. Consider this office to remain firmly with the Democratic Party.

Projected Winner: Democrat

New Mexico

Main article: New Mexico Attorney General election, 2010
New Mexico

A second term in office for Gary King is all but guaranteed. That pretty much sums up the situation in New Mexico after examining the results from the two surveys – one from Lake Research Partners and the other from the Albuquerque Journal – both of which put Matthew Chandler, District Attorney of the Ninth Judicial District of New Mexico and King’s Republican challenger, behind by nearly twenty percentage points.[30][31] This seems quite remarkable given the atmosphere of corruption that has plagued the AG’s office lately, but it appears as though voters in the state are simply choosing to look the other way. Polling data suggests that name recognition is a serious issue, as only seventeen percent of those surveyed knew who the young D.A. was as opposed to King, with whom 2/3 of voters interviewed were familiar with.

Projected Winner: Democrat

New York

Main article: New York Attorney General election, 2010
New York

In spite of being in the local spotlight far more than his Republican opponent, due in large part to being embroiled in a hotly contested five-way Democratic primary, State Senator Eric Schneiderman found himself with only a slim one percentage point advantage over State Island District Attorney Dan Donovan in the race for State Attorney General according to an initial survey from Quinnipiac University.[32] Two new polls – a second survey from Quinnipiac University and an initial one from Survey USA – covering the same survey period (October 1-5, 2010) both placed Schneiderman with a decent lead over Donovan, though at different degrees – Quinnipiac pegged it at 11 while Survey USA had it around 6 percent points.[33][34] Another survey, this one from Siena Research Institute conducted in the middle of October, position Schneiderman with a seven percentage point lead over Donovan.[35] What seems to be consistent in all four polls, however, is that Donovan is vastly out campaigning Schneiderman among the long sought independent voter demographic.

It is difficult how much of an impact Paladino’s self-imploding gubernatorial campaign will have on this race, as it has been a touchy topic of debate, but it wouldn’t come as a surprise if the seat remained firmly in the hands of the Democrats.

Projected Winner: Democrat

North Dakota

Main article: North Dakota Attorney General election, 2010
North Dakota

With a barely visible opponent, Jean Boechler, who, at far as we can tell, doesn’t even have a campaign website, Republican incumbent Wayne Stenehjem should coast to a fourth straight term with ease.

Projected Winner: Republican

Ohio

Main article: Ohio Attorney General election, 2010
Ohio

With rumors suggesting that the situation in Ohio for the Democrats has become so grim their national campaign committees are weighing their options in terms of commitment, the state attorney general race, along with more high profile contests for governor and United States Senate, appear locked.[36] Former U.S. Senator Mike DeWine has polled consistently throughout the general election campaign against Democratic incumbent Richard Cordray and the latest survey results from Suffolk University confirm that.[37] This should be a huge pickup for the Republicans and a tremendous loss for the White House looking to keep this swing state out of the national health care debate.

Projected Winner: Republican PICKUP

Oklahoma

Main article: Oklahoma Attorney General election, 2010
Oklahoma

Though relatively complacent throughout most of the general election campaign, the latest survey numbers published by SoonerPoll, an Oklahoma-based public opinion pollster, finds former State Senator Scott Pruitt with a comfortable twenty percentage point lead over Democratic opponent, Jim Priest.[38] On Election Day, this should be a considerable pickup for the Republicans.

Projected Winner: Republican PICKUP

Rhode Island

Main article: Rhode Island Attorney General election, 2010
Rhode Island

It had been theorized that if former state prosecutor Erik B. Wallin wanted a considerable showing in the race for state attorney general that he would have to gain considerable ground while state Democrats fought amongst themselves in a highly contentious primary campaign. It seems, though, that did not happen. Researchers at the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions and the John Hazen White Public Opinion Laboratory at Brown University surveyed 565 registered voters (not likely voters) from across Rhode Island between September 27 and 29, 2010.[39] The polling data shows that in the race for State Attorney General, Democrat Peter Kilmartin has a stable lead with 25.8% while his Republican opponent, Erik B. Wallin, has 13.5% support; combined, the three third-party candidates pulled in nearly twenty percent of those interviewed. It should be noted, however, that the responses were gathered two weeks after the primary, so it is possible that may still be fresh in voters minds. Still, a double-digit deficit this late in the campaign is extremely difficult to overcome, particularly in a state that has typically been a Democratic stronghold. Consider this a retainer for the Democrats on November 2.

Projected Winner: Democrat

South Carolina

Main article: South Carolina Attorney General election, 2010
South Carolina

Very little has been heard out of South Carolina regarding the state attorney general campaign, so it is difficult to an accurate prediction as to how it is going to wind up. However, if the turnout for Nikki Haley in the gubernatorial contest is as big as is to be expected, it is not unreasonable to assume there will be a trickle down effect for the lower ticket races. Additionally, given the fact that Michael Alan Wilson is the son of Republican Congressman Joe Wilson, a favorite among conservatives for speaking out against President Obama during the State of the Union address, doesn’t hurt either.

Projected Winner: Republican

South Dakota

Main article: South Dakota Attorney General election, 2010
South Dakota

Besides starting off the campaign year as a gubernatorial candidate before being selected to serve as the Democratic nominee in the state attorney general contest, Ron Volesky has twice attempted and failed for the same office in the past. Republican incumbent Marty J. Jackley, who was appointed to the position in 2009 to fill the vacancy left behind by Larry Long after he had been appointed to the Second Judicial Circuit Court, should easily gain his first full elected term in office.

Projected Winner: Republican

Texas

Main article: Texas Attorney General election, 2010
Texas

There was never any real doubt Republican incumbent Greg Abbott, who, in the past year, has filed suit against the Obama administration three times, would lose out in his bid for re-election in as conservative/anti-Obama state as Texas. As vigorous a campaign as Barbara Ann Radnofsky has run over the past year, it has hardly made a dent based on polls from the Texas Tribune and The Texas Lyceum, the latter of which put Abbott well above the fifty percent mark.[40][41] With Abbott being one of the prominent State AGs leading the charge against Obamacare in federal court, he should handily win a third term.

Projected Winner: Republican

Vermont

Main article: Vermont Attorney General election, 2010
Vermont

With practically no indication that Aaron Toscano, the Republican nominee in the state attorney general contest, has made any headway against Democratic incumbent Bill Sorrell, call this election a ridiculously easy retainer for the Democrats.

Projected Winner: Democrat

Wisconsin

Main article: Wisconsin Attorney General election, 2010
Wisconsin

While there has been a considerable amount of activity surround the Wisconsin Attorney General race, largely after Democratic candidate Scott Hassett accused Republican incumbent J.B. Van Hollen of not doing “enough” in the Ken Kratz “sexting” case, it is nowhere near as close as it might seem. With huge a Republican turnout in the primary on September 14th, there is no reason to expect anything less in the general election, especially with major races for governor, lieutenant governor, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House.

Projected Winner: Republican

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 - are running 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. Tom Horne for Attorney General "Poll: Tom Horne Holds Eight Point Lead in Attorney General Race" 23 Sept. 2010
  2. Wilson Research Strategies "State of the Race for Attorney General of Arizona" 8 Oct. 2010
  3. Seeing Red AZ "GOP AG nominee Horne calls on Rotellini to return AZ boycott supporters’ donations" 1 Sept. 2010
  4. Arizona Daily Star "GOP's Woods backing Dem Rotellini for AG" 24 Sept. 2010
  5. Tucson Citizen "Former GOP A.G. says it’s OK to vote for a Democrat" 24 Sept. 2010
  6. The Field Poll "Preferences in the A-G race" 25 Sept. 2010
  7. Legal Newsline "Harris on top in Calif. AG survey" 4 Oct. 2010
  8. David Binder Research - Clients
  9. Legal Newsline "DiCaro: Shelving Calif. greenhouse law will save jobs" 5 May, 2010
  10. ‘’The Field Poll “State Ballot Propositions” 26 Sept. 2010
  11. Magellan Data and Mapping Strategies "Colorado Statewide Elections Survey Release" 31 Aug. 2010
  12. Delaware Online "No one files to run against Beau Biden" 13 July, 2010
  13. Orlando Sentinel "Sarah Palin endorses Pam Bondi as ‘bold, sharp, selfless…’" 18 Aug. 2010
  14. St. Petersburg Times "Sarah Palin endorses Pam Bondi for attorney general" 19 Aug. 2010
  15. Florida Capital News "GOP candidates lead all 3 Cabinet races" 10 Oct. 2010
  16. Survey USA "Results of SurveyUSA Election Poll #17061" 13 Sept. 2010
  17. Suffolk University "Illinois Senate and Gubernatorial Race and State Issues" 4 Oct. 2010
  18. The Iowa Republican "Attorney General Miller Leads in New TIR Battleground Poll" 3 Aug. 2010
  19. Findley for Attorney General - Brenna Findley Out-Raises Incumbent AG
  20. Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board - Brenna Findley Pre-Primary Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report Summary
  21. Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board - Tom Miller Pre-Primary Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report Summary
  22. Topeka Capital-Journal "AG: Healthcare challenge would fail" 2 April, 2010
  23. Survey USA "Results of SurveyUSA Election Poll #17081" 17 Sept. 2010
  24. Red State "MA Republicans: Write-in James McKenna for AG to run against Martha Coakley" 13 Sept. 2010
  25. The Boston Herald "James McKenna garners nearly 30,000 write-ins to challenge Martha Coakley" 21 Sept. 2010
  26. Worchester Telegram & Gazette "Complaint filed against McKenna" 22 Sept. 2010
  27. Boston Globe "New Opinion Dynamics poll: Baker up 5%" 14 Oct. 2010
  28. Public Policy Polling "Snyder Headed to Blowout Over Bernero for MI Gov." 21 Sept. 2010
  29. Las Vegas Review-Journal "Pre-debate poll shows Sandoval still in lead" 30 Aug. 2010
  30. Lake Research Partners "Attorney General Gary King Poised to Win Re-election" 27 Aug. 2010
  31. New Mexico Politics "King leads Chandler in two polls" 31 Aug. 2010
  32. Quinnipiac University "Little-Known New York Attorney General Candidates Tied, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Gillibrand Up By Only 6 Points" 23 Sept. 2010
  33. Quinnipiac University "Despite Anger At D.C., Dems Lead In All New York Races, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Women Propel Gillibrand To Double-Digit Lead" 8 Oct. 2010
  34. Survey USA "Results of SurveyUSA Election Poll #17282" 10 Oct. 2010
  35. Siena Research Institute "Schneiderman Leads Donovan in Race for Attorney General, but It’s Close" 20 Oct. 2010
  36. The Atlantic "A Democratic Bloodbath in Ohio?" 16 Sept. 2010
  37. Suffolk University "Republicans Leading for U.S. Senator and Governor" 7 Oct. 2010
  38. SoonerPoll "Poll finds Republicans poised to sweep Oklahoma’s November election" 13 Oct. 2010
  39. Brown University "Caprio, Cicilline and Langevin lead R.I. races" 5 Oct. 2010
  40. The Texas Tribune "Perry Leads White 39-33 in September UT/TT Poll" 13 Sept. 2010
  41. The Texas Lyceum "Governor’s Race Not a Forgone Conclusion" 6 Oct. 2010