Wisconsin Attorney General election, 2010

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Candidates for State Attorney General, 2010

Polls, 2010 State Attorney General elections

2010 Election information
Primary election dates
Statewide elections, 2010
November 2nd General Election results

National Association of Attorneys General

AttyGenLogo.jpg Attorney General news headlines
The Wisconsin Attorney General election of 2010 was held on November 2, 2010. Republican incumbent J.B. Van Hollen won re-election over Democratic challenger Scott Hassett, taking 57.8 percent of the vote to Hassett's 42.2 percent.

Race tracking

See also: 2010 State Attorneys General/Election Racetracking

Ballotpedia and Governing magazine called the race an easy win for the Republican Party.

2010 Race Rankings for Wisconsin Attorney General
Race Tracker Race Rating
Ballotpedia Likely Republican
Governing[1] Likely Republican
Overall Call Likely Republican

General Election campaign


Republican Party Republican Party - Incumbent J.B. Van Hollen
Democratic Party Democratic Party - Madison attorney Scott Hassett

General election results

Attorney General of Wisconsin, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJ.B. Van Hollen Incumbent 57.8% 1,220,791
     Democratic Scott Hassett 42.1% 890,080
     - Scattering 0.1% 1,614
Total Votes 2,112,485
Election Results via Wisconsin Government Accountability Board


October 7th - Marquette Law School

On Thursday, October 7th, both major party candidates in the race for state attorney general - Republican incumbent J.B. Van Hollen and Democratic challenger Scott Hassett - appeared as guests for On The Issues with Mike Gousha located at Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Topics that were highlighted included the Ken Kratz "sexting" case, Arizona's anti-illegal immigration law, fighting to protect the Great Lakes from Asian carp, managing the state's wolf population, and continuing to identify and prosecute people who use the Internet to try to set up sexual encounters with children.

October 8th - Wisconsin Public Television

Moderated by anchor Frederica Freyberg, both Hassett and Van Hollen appeared on Here and Now, Wisconsin Public Television's weekly in-depth news and public affairs program, on Friday, October 8th and discussed prevalent issues affecting the state.

Click here to view the entire debate


Scott Hassett

J.B. Van Hollen

September 14, 2010 primaries

See also: Wisconsin gubernatorial election, 2010; Wisconsin Secretary of State election, 2010

Donkey symbol.png Democratic primary


Electoral results


According to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, as of August 30, 2010, here is the breakdown of campaign finances for each of the candidates:

Scott Hassett Campaign Finance Reports
Report Date Filed Beginning Balance Contributions In-Kind [17] Other Sources Expenditures Cash on Hand
January 1 - June 30, 2010[18] July 21, 2010 $56,181.44 $107,917.37 $1,685.76 $0.00 $43,535.04 $120,563.77

Gop logo2.jpg Republican primary


Electoral results


According to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, as of August 30, 2010, here is the breakdown of campaign finances for each of the candidates:

J.B. Van Hollen Campaign Finance Reports
Report Date Filed Beginning Balance Contributions In-Kind [17] Other Sources Expenditures Cash on Hand
January 1 - June 30, 2010[20] July 20, 2010 $313,858.53 $206,468.51 $300.00 $700,000.00 $179,328.76 $340,998.28


Active status

With roughly six weeks left before the general election, the Wisconsin State Board of Bar Examiners, the state agency that evaluates attorneys, told Democratic candidate Scott Hassett that he lacked the necessary qualifications to practice law within the state.

For five years, starting in 2004, Hassett's law license was placed on inactive status. In July 2009, when he wished to regain active status, he "sent the board a letter saying he had completed the 30 credit hours of continuing legal education he thought he needed to regain active status."[21] Two months earlier, however, an amendment was passed that required "anyone who was inactive for two or more years to obtain 60 credits, not 30, to regain active status."[21] In spite of this, the board cleared Hassett to reinstate his active status as a lawyer within the state.

Ultimately, the State Board decided "to allow attorney general candidate Scott Hassett and several other attorneys to continue to actively practice law, even though they lack the required number of continuing legal education hours."[22]

Ken Kratz

In September 2010, the Associated Press revealed that Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz sent Stephanie Van Groll, whose boyfriend he was prosecuting for her attempted murder, thirty sexually explicit text messages over the course of three days in 2009.[23] Ms. Groll went to the Kaukauna Police Department on October 22, 2009 fearing that his interest in her would affect his prosecution of her ex-boyfriend. Shortly after the incident, the Kaukauna PD handed the matter over to the State Division of Criminal Investigation, who began an inquiry on October 27. The investigation was promptly closed several days later after investigators determined that there "weren’t any facts that indicated any crimes were committed."[24]

While no charges were filed, Van Hollen's Office did pressure Kratz to report the incident to the State Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR). The State Supreme Court requires a lawyer to file such a report if they know of another lawyer who has committed professional misconduct; this misconduct, however, must raise a substantial question as to that lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer. It was not until December 4, 2009 that Kratz finally reported the text messages to the OLR. It was also around this time that the Calumet D.A. resigned from his position as Chair of the State Crime Victims Rights Board. However, three months later, the OLR decided not to conduct a formal investigation of Kratz; they believed that the texts, while inappropriate, did not represent professional misconduct on the D.A.'s part.

Following the release of the story, outgoing Democratic Governor Jim Doyle announced that he was beginning the process of removing Kratz from office; two weeks later, however, Kratz, who had placed himself on medical leave, chose to resign as Calumet County District Attorney.[25][26]

Scott Hassett, the Democratic nominee challenging Van Hollen in his bid for re-election, has used this as an issue against the State Attorney General late in the campaign. In an email sent to supporters on September 21, 2010, Hassett accused Van Hollen of knowing about the district attorney sexting case nearly a year ago, but refusing to do anything about it. Since that email, however, Hassett has become more reserved, arguing that Van Hollen did not do anything "substantive" to deal with the problem. At their first debate at the Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee on October 7, 2010, Van Hollen contended, however, that he forced Kratz to resign from the State Crime Victims Rights Board, made Kratz turn himself in to the Office of Lawyer Regulation, and to force the District Attorney to relinquish his authority to prosecute domestic violence cases in Calumet County over to the Attorney General. If anyone is to blame, he said, it would be the Office of Lawyer Regulation who failed to do its duty to take any disciplinary action on District Attorney Kratz.

External links


General Election candidates


  1. Governing “Attorney General Race Ratings” 12 Oct. 2010
  2. AFSCME 48 - 2010 Endorsements
  3. Fair Wisconsin - Fall 2010 Endorsements
  4. NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin, "NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin PAC Endorses Scott Hassett for Attorney General" 24 Aug. 2010
  5. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin - 2010 Endorsed Candidates
  6. Sierra Club, "Sierra Club endorses Scott Hassett for Attorney General 13 Oct. 2010
  7. WisPolitics, "Sierra Club: Endorses Scott Hassett for attorney general" 13 Oct. 2010
  8. Wausau Daily Herald, "Our View: For attorney general, we endorse Hassett" 22 Oct. 2010
  9. Wisconsin State AFL-CIO - 2010 State AFL-CIO Endorsements
  10. Wisconsin Ag Connection, "DBA Endorses Van Hollen for Attorney General" 24 Sept. 2010
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 11.8 WisPolitics, "Van Hollen Campaign: Tavern League of Wisconsin endorses Van Hollen for attorney general" 21 Sept. 2010
  12. Wisconsin Realtors Association, "REALTORS® Endorse Van Hollen for Attorney General" 4 May, 2010
  13. Wisconsin State Journal, "J.B. best for AG" 17 Oct. 2010
  14. Wisconsin State Lodge Fraternal Order of Police, "WI FOP Endorses J B Van Hollen for Attorney General" 7 Sept. 2010
  15. Wisconsin Troopers' Association, Inc. "WTA Endorses J.B. Van Hollen for Attorney General" 5 Aug. 2010
  16. Blogging Blue, "Van Hollen gets a challenger" 30 July, 2009
  17. 17.0 17.1 As these are not cash contributions, they are not reflected in the reported ending balance.
  18. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board - Scott Hassett GAB-2 July Continuing 2010 Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report Summary
  19. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Van Hollen announces for re-election" 26 April, 2010
  20. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board - J.B. Van Hollen GAB-2 July Continuing 2010 Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report Summary
  21. 21.0 21.1 Green Bay Press Gazette, "Wisconsin Democratic attorney general candidate Scott Hassett faces law license review" 19 Sept. 2010
  22. WXOW News 19 "Board allows Hassett to practice law, without required education" 25 Sept. 2010
  23. City Pages, "Kenneth Kratz sexts victim while prosecuting her boyfriend" 15 Sept. 2010
  24. Politifact, "Challenger Scott Hassett says Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen knew about district attorney sexting case but did nothing about it" 4 Oct. 2010
  25. Green Bay Press Gazette, "Gov. Jim Doyle will begin review of Calumet County DA Ken Kratz" 20 Sept. 2010
  26. CBS News, "Ken Kratz, "Sexting Prosecutor," Resigns; Tried to Start Affair with Domestic Abuse Client" 4 Oct. 2010