Orrick’s 2022 State Attorney General Election Preview

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

It will be a busy election year in 2022 for state Attorneys General (AGs) with races in 31 of the 43 states with elected AGs, including the District of Columbia (which we count among the states in this report). The Orrick State Attorney General Team’s election preview provides a snapshot of the races in 2022, including the current slate of candidates.

Currently, there are 27 Republican AGs and 24 Democratic AGs. In 2022, elections will be held in 14 states with Republican AGs and 16 states with Democratic AGs. The following states will likely be “in play” (toss-up, lean Democratic, or lean Republican): Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Texas, and Wisconsin. In those states, there are presently 5 Democratic AGs and 3 Republicans.

The Orrick State AG Team will provide timely election updates, including reports on key primary elections throughout the spring and summer. In the fall, we’ll provide a final pre-election update and after the November election, we’ll provide a post-election report and analysis.

State Attorneys General control map

Alabama

  • Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) was first appointed to this position in 2017 and was elected in 2018 with 58.8 percent of the vote. Attorney General Marshall is seeking reelection in 2022. Democratic candidate Wendell Major (former marine and career in Alabama law enforcement) is running against Steve Marshall in the general election. Alabama is traditionally a strong Republican state and will likely remain that way in 2022.

Arizona

  • Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) is finishing his second term and is term limited under Arizona law. General Brnovich has announced that he is running for U.S. Senate to challenge Senator Mark Kelly. The open AG seat is garnering significant interest. There are currently six Republican candidates and one Democratic candidate in the running. Although Arizona leans Republican, Arizona will likely be in play in 2022 and is one of the AG races to watch.
  • The primary election will be held on August 2, 2022.

Democratic Candidate
Kris Mayes (former state Corporation Commission member)

Republican Candidates
Lacy Cooper (former Assistant U.S. Attorney)
Rodney Glassman (former Democrat who challenged Sen. McCain in 2010)
Andrew Gould (former Arizona Supreme Court Justice)
Dawn Grove (former Tucson City Councilmember)
Abraham Hamadeh (former deputy county prosecutor)
Tiffany Shedd (former U.S. House candidate)

Libertarian Candidate
Michael Kielsky (attorney)

Arkansas

  • Like Attorney General Brnovich, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (R) is finishing her second term, is term limited, and is seeking another statewide office. General Rutledge is running for lieutenant governor. The primary election was held on May 24, 2022. Jesse Gibson (attorney and Little Rock Parks and Rec. Commission member) advanced as the Democratic candidate. Tim Griffin (Lt. Governor, former U.S. House member, former U.S. Attorney) is the Republican candidate. A Write-In, Gerhard Langguth, is an Independent candidate. Arkansas has become a more solid Republican state and will remain Republican in 2022.

Democrat Candidate
Jesse Gibson (trial lawyer)

Republican Candidate
Tim Griffin (Lt. Governor, former U.S. House member, former U.S. Attorney)

California

  • Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) is up for election. Bonta was appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom and was sworn in on April 23, 2021, after Attorney General Xavier Becerra was appointed as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. The nonpartisan primary election was held on June 7, 2022. As a result, Rob Bonta is the Democratic candidate and Nathan Hochman (white-collar defense attorney and former Assistant U.S. Attorney) is the Republican candidate. California is traditionally a strong Democratic state and will remain so in 2022.

Colorado

  • Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser (D) was first elected in 2018 with 51.6 percent of the vote. The June 28 Republican primary advanced John Kellner (District Attorney for Colorado’s 18th Judicial District, Marine Corps Veteran). The Democrat primary election on June 28 advanced Phil Weiser. In addition to Kellner (R) and Weiser (D), William Robinson (attorney) will be running for the Libertarian party. As a traditional swing-state, Colorado will likely be in play in 2022 and is an AG race to watch.

Connecticut

  • Attorney General William Tong (D) was first elected in 2018 with 52.5 percent of the vote and is running for reelection. William Tong advanced as the Democrat candidate and Jessica Kordas (criminal defense attorney) advanced as the Republican candidate. Connecticut is traditionally a strong Democratic state and will remain so in 2022.

Delaware

  • Attorney General Kathy Jennings (D) was first elected in 2018 with 61.3 percent of the vote and is running for reelection. General Jennings is the Democratic candidate. Delaware is a strong Democratic state and will remain so in 2022.
  • The primary election will be held on September 13, 2022.

Republican Candidate
Julianne Murray (attorney)

Florida

  • Attorney General Ashley Moody (R) was first elected in 2018 with 52.1 percent of the vote and is running for reelection as the Republican candidate. Currently, there are three Democrats running in the August 23 Democratic primary election. Florida has become a stronger Republican state and will likely remain that way in 2022.

Democrat Candidates
Aramis Ayala (civil rights attorney and former Florida State Attorney)
Daniel Uhlfelder (activist and trial attorney)
Jim Lewis (criminal defense attorney)

Georgia

  • Attorney General Chris Carr (R) was first elected in 2018 with 51.3 percent of the vote. General Carr advanced from the Republican primary election on May 24, defeating Trump-backed Republican candidate John Gordon, 74% to 26%. General Carr will face Democratic opponent Jen Jordan (State Senator) and Libertarian candidate Martin Cowen during general election. Georgia traditionally has leaned Republican, but has recently become more of a toss-up state. Georgia will be one of the key states to watch in 2022.

Idaho

  • Former Republican U.S. Representative Raúl Labrador defeated Attorney General Lawrence Wasden (R) in the primary election on May 17. General Wasden was first elected in 2002. Steven Scanlin was the Democratic candidate until announcing his withdrawal on July 18. Tom Arkoosh (attorney) announced his candidacy on July 26 and is the new Democratic nominee. Idaho is a strong Republican state; therefore, Raúl Labrador will likely be the next attorney general.

Illinois

  • Attorney General Kwame Raoul (D) was first elected in 2018 with 54.7 percent of the vote and has advanced as the Democratic candidate. Raoul will run against Republican candidate Thomas DeVore (attorney) in the general election on November 8, 2022. Illinois is a strong Democratic state and will likely remain that way in 2022.

Iowa

  • Attorney General Tom Miller (D) was first elected in 1978 and was re-elected in 2018 with 76.5 percent of the vote, up from 56.1 percent in 2014. General Miller is the longest-serving state AG in the United States and is the Democratic candidate. He will face Brenna Bird (County Attorney) as the Republican candidate during general election. Iowa is becoming a stronger Republican state, but AG Tom Miller has held his office as a Democrat despite the rise of the Republican Party in that state.

Kansas

  • Attorney General Derek Schmidt (R) was first elected in 2010 and is not seeking reelection in 2022, running for governor instead. Currently, one Democratic candidate and three Republican candidates are running to succeed AG Schmidt. Despite Kansas electing a Democrat Governor in 2018, Kansas is traditionally a strong Republican state and will likely remain that way in 2022.
  • The primary election will be held on August 2, 2022.

Democrat Candidate
Chris Mann (former deputy county prosecutor and police officer)

Republican Candidates
Kris Kobach (former Secretary of State)
Tony Mattivi (former Assistant U.S. Attorney)
Kellie Warren (State Senator and Senate Judiciary Committee chairwoman )

Maryland

Massachusetts

  • Attorney General Maura Healey (D), first elected in 2014, is not seeking reelection. She has announced that she is running for governor instead. Currently, there are three Democratic candidates for AG and one Republican candidate. Massachusetts is a strong Democratic state and will likely remain that way in 2022.
  • The primary election will be held on September 6, 2022.

Democratic Candidates
Andrea Campbell (attorney and former Boston city councilor)
Shannon Liss-Rioridan (trial lawyer, former U.S. Senate candidate)
Quentin Palfrey (former Assistant AG and candidate for Lt. Governor)

Republican Candidate
Jay McMahon (trial attorney)

Michigan

  • Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) was first elected in 2018 with 49 percent of the vote and is running for a second and final term in 2022. Currently, there are three Republican candidates running in the Republican convention. The Libertarian convention was held on July 10, advancing Joe McHugh. Michigan has for several election cycles been a toss-up state and will be one of the key battleground states in 2022.
  • The primary election will be held on August 2, 2022.

Republican Candidates
Ryan Berman (second-term State Representative)
Tom Leonard (former State House Speaker who opposed Nessel in 2018)
Matthew DePerno (attorney)

Minnesota

  • Attorney General Keith Ellison (D) was first elected in 2018 with 49 percent of the vote and is running for reelection in 2022. Currently, there are three Republican candidates. Although Minnesota traditionally leans Democratic, General Ellison won in 2018 with only 49 percent of the state. Minnesota is one of the key states to watch in 2022.
  • The primary election will be held on August 9, 2022.

Republican Candidates
Jim Schultz (business attorney)
Sharon Anderson (perennial candidate)
Doug Wardlow (former State Representative who opposed Ellison in 2018)

Democratic Candidates
Keith Ellison
Bill Dahn (perennial candidate)

Nebraska

  • Attorney General Doug Peterson (R) was first elected in 2014 and is not seeking reelection in 2022. Mike Hilgers (State legislator) advanced from the Republican primary election on May 10. Larry Bolinger advanced as a Legal Marijuana Now Party candidate. Currently, there are no Democratic candidates. Nebraska is strong Republican state and will remain that way after the general election.

Nevada

  • Attorney General Aaron Ford (D) was first elected in 2018 with 47.2 percent of the vote and advanced as the Democratic candidate. Sigal Chattah (attorney) advanced from the June 14 Republican primary. John T. Kennedy is the Libertarian candidate. Nevada is typically a toss-up state and could be a key state to watch during the general election.

New Mexico

  • Attorney General Hector Balderas (D) was first elected in 2014 and is term limited. Raul Torrez (County District Attorney) won the Democratic primary on June 7. Jeremy Gay (Marine Corps veteran) advanced as the Republican candidate. New Mexico has traditionally been a strong Democratic state and will likely remain that way after the general election.

Democratic Candidates
Brian Colón (State Auditor)
Raul Torrez (County District Attorney)

Republican Candidate
Jeremy Gay (former marine)

New York

  • Attorney General Letitia James (D) was first elected in 2018 with 62.4 percent of the vote and advanced as the Democratic candidate. The Republican candidate is Michael Henry (attorney). Sean Hayes (attorney and former businessman) is the Libertarian candidate. New York is traditionally a strong Democratic state and will likely remain that way in 2022.

North Dakota

  • Former U.S. Attorney and Lieutenant Governor Drew Wrigley (R) was nominated by Gov. Burgum and sworn in on February 9 to serve out the remainder of Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem’s term. General Stenehjem was first elected in 2000 and unexpectedly passed away on January 28th. AG Wrigley will seek election to a full term this November 8 and has advanced from the Republican primary on June 14. Timothy Lamb (attorney) advanced from the Democratic primary. North Dakota is traditionally a strong Republican state and will likely remain that way after the general election.

Ohio

  • Attorney General Dave Yost (R) was first elected in 2018 with 52.2 percent of the vote and advanced from the Republican primary on May 3. Jeff Crossman (attorney and City Councilman) advanced from the Democratic primary. Ohio has leaned Republican in recent years and will likely continue to trend that way for the general election.

Oklahoma

  • Attorney General John O’Connor (R) was appointed by Governor Kevin Stitt on July 23, 2021, after former Attorney General Mike Hunter resigned during his first term. General O’Connor lost the Republican primary to Gentner Drummond (attorney and decorated Air Force Capt. veteran; ran for AG in 2018, narrowly losing to Mr. Hunter). Lynda Steele (Oklahoma Army National Guard veteran) advanced from the Libertarian primary. There are no Democratic candidates. Oklahoma is traditionally a strong Republican state and will remain so after the general election.

Rhode Island

  • Attorney General Peter Neronha (D) was first elected in 2018 with 79.8 percent of the vote and is running for reelection in 2022. Currently, there is one Republican candidate and two Independent candidates. The primary elections will be held on September 13. Rhode Island is traditionally a strong Democratic state and will likely remain so in 2022.

Republican Candidate
Charles Calenda (trial attorney and former Special Assistant AG)

Independent Candidate
Rebecca Lynne McLaughlin (perennial candidate)
Alan Gordon (perennial candidate)

South Carolina

  • Attorney General Alan Wilson (R) was first elected in 2010 and is running for reelection in 2022. General Wilson advanced from the Republican primary on June 14. There are no Democratic candidates. South Carolina is traditionally a strong Republican state and will remain that way in 2022.

South Dakota

  • Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg (R) was first elected in 2018 with 55.2 percent of the vote and was seeking reelection when he was impeached and removed from office on June 21. Marty J. Jackley (former attorney general and U.S. Attorney) advanced from the Republican convention on June 25. There are no Democratic candidates. South Dakota is a strong Republican state and will remain so in 2022.

Texas

  • Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) was first elected in 2014 and is seeking reelection in 2022. On March 1, 2022, Texas held its primary election and the top two candidates for each party advanced to a runoff election on May 24. Rochelle Garza (civil rights attorney) advanced from the Democratic primary runoff and General Paxton advanced from the Republican primary runoff. Mark Ash will also be running in the general election as the Libertarian candidate.

Vermont

  • Attorney General T.J. Donovan (D) was first elected in 2016 and is not seeking reelection in 2022 (attorneys general are elected every two years in Vermont). Currently, there are two Democratic candidates, one Republican candidate, and one Vermont Progressive Party candidate. Vermont is a strong Democratic state and will likely remain that way in 2022.
  • The primary election will be held on August 9, 2022.

Democratic Candidates
Charity Clark (Chief of Staff to AG Donovan)
Rory Thibault (Washington County State’s Attorney)

Republican Candidate
H. Brooke Paige (perennial candidate also running for reelection for Vermont State Auditor and Vermont Treasurer)

Vermont Progressive Party Candidate
Elijah Bergman (attorney)

Wisconsin

  • Attorney General Josh Kaul (D) was first elected in 2018 with 49.4 percent of the vote and is seeking reelection in 2022. Currently, there are three Republican candidates. Wisconsin, traditionally a toss-up state, will be one of the key states to watch in 2022.
  • The primary election will be held on August 9, 2022.

Republican Candidates
Adam Jarchow (former state assemblyman)
Karen Mueller (attorney)
Eric Toney (County District Attorney)

Washington, D.C.

  • Attorney General Karl Racine (D) was first elected in 2014 and is not seeking reelection. Brian Schwalb (trial attorney) advanced from the June 21 Democratic primary. There are no other candidates. Washington, D.C. is a strong Democratic jurisdiction and will remain that way in 2022.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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