Thirty states will hold elections this year to decide who they want to be their top lawyer. Each party currently holds half of these seats, though Republicans have a much better shot to make multiple pickups than the Democrats do (Democrats will almost certainly flip the Vermont AG office, for example). This year, there are eight competitive races and three reach races on the board and the remainder should be safe for their party. Attorney General Races this year along with some reaches for each party. I’d also be remiss, because this is an article about them, the plural of attorney general is “attorneys general”, not attorney generals.
Arizona’s Attorney General seat is open this year as incumbent Mark Brnovich was term-limited and took a shot at running for Senate. The GOP nominated former Maricopa prosecutor Abraham Hamadeh and Democrats nominated Kristin Mayes, a former chair of the Arizona Corporation commission. Like most Arizona Republicans, Hamadeh has pivoted towards the center during the general after running to the right during the primary and it seems to be working. A recent Democratic internal poll by the Global Strategies group had the race tied, although that should be taken with a grain of salt. Based on other polls, Arizona’s top-of-the-ticket blue swings seem to lagging down ballot and this race will more likely than not result in a republican victory.
Rating: Leans Republican
After fending off Trump-backed primary challengers, Georgia row office incumbents generally seem to be in good graces with the independent suburban voters that propelled Biden, Warnock, and Ossoff to victory. Incumbent Attorney General Chris Carr is no exception to that. The Democrats nominated State Senator Jen Jordan who has been attacking Carr over his support of Georgia’s heartbeat bill and several changes to voting laws that restrict access to absentee ballots. One AJC poll published September 20th had Carr leading Jordan 45-35%. Carr narrowly won by 2.6% in 2018, but like Arizona, the swing left at the top of the ticket isn’t translating downballot as quickly as Democrats would need to win this election.
Rating: Likely Republican
Tom Miller, Iowa’s Democratic Attorney General, is the nation’s longest-serving state Attorney General. Miller has held the office for two non-consecutive stints (1979-1991 and 1995-now) interrupted by an unsuccessful run for governor in 1990. Miller posted double-digit wins in both the 2010 and 2014 red waves and faced only a Libertarian candidate in 2018 when he won by almost 54%. However, with Iowa’s lurch rightward, Republicans are eying to knock off Miller with Guthrie County Attorney Brenna Bird. Public polling, as with most of the other races on this list, is scarce. Both polls in this race were done by Cygnal, a republican polling firm. The first was conducted in late February and showed Bird up 5, but a poll conducted in late July showed Miller up 1. A recent Selzer Poll
also showed Miller leading Bird 49-33 citing that more than half of voters don’t know enough about Bird to even have an opinion of her. Miller’s extremely long incumbency and goodwill with voters should provide him enough of a boost to win this year, but for Miller, it is a matter of when, not if, partisanship will catch up to him. Rating: Leans Democratic
Kansas may see an unusually competitive Attorney General race this year as 2018 gubernatorial candidate and former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is the Republican candidate against Chris Mann. Mann is a former police officer and prosecutor. Recent public polling has shown a close race, with Emerson College recently releasing a poll that gave Kobach a 41-39% lead. While Kobach has been prone to bad campaigns, gaffes, and attacks over his time in the Secretary of State office, he is still favored to win.
Rating: Leans Republican
In 2018, Michigan’s current Attorney General Dana Nessel was elected by just under 3% to become the first Democratic Attorney General in Michigan since Jennifer Granholm left the office in 2003. Nessel wasn’t able to match the margins of Gretchen Whitmer and Jocelyn Benson, lagging behind in both right-trending WWC areas and left-trending suburban areas. However, this year, Nessel’s opponent is far weaker than her 2018 competitor, Tom Barrett. The 2022 Republican nominee, Matt Deperno, has been riddled with controversy. Years of soundbites of anti-abortion comments and conspiracies about the 2020 election have surfaced and he is also under investigation for attempts to illegally take and analyze voting machines from Antrim County. In summation, the Michigan GOP statewide ticket is much weaker this year in 2018, Nessel has a 10:1 cash advantage over Deperno, and abortion is quite literally on the ballot this year. All these factors should be enough to counter a less favorable environment than 2018 for Nessel, leaving her favored.
Rating: Leans Democratic
Like Dana Nessel. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s 2018 margins lagged behind those of his fellow statewide Democrats. He is facing a challenge from Jim Schulz, a private sector lawyer who is campaigning on crime and public safety. Ellison has been trailing other statewide Democrats in polls, most recently being tied in a Minnesota Post poll. Tim Walz and the rest of the ticket might be able to drag Ellison across the finish line, but this is one of the best opportunities for the Minnesota GOP to win statewide office since their last win in 2006.
Incumbent Aaron Ford will face off against his Republican challenger Sigal Chattah this year. Ford, like Ellison and Nessel, won by the smallest margin out of any statewide Democrat by o slim margin of 0.47%(save the SOS office which was won by Republican Barbara Cegavske). Several republicans, including former NV GOP chair Amy Tarkanian and Michael Roberson (who was the Nevada GOP Senate Leader when Ford was the Democratic Leader) have endorsed Ford and even created an organizing group
called Republicans for Ford. The group called Chattah “an unprepared, dangerous candidate who lacks the experience, foresight, and temperament to be able to do right by Nevadans.” Ford also, as of last quarter, had a However, Ford is still in danger due to the national environment and Nevada’s decreasing democratic advantage. Rating: Tossup
In 2018, Josh Kaul unseated incumbent Attorney General Brad Schimel by just 17,000 votes. This year he is facing Fond du Lac prosecutor Eric Toney. Toney is campaigning on the drop in public prosecutors across the state (which he says is down 26%). This race should go fairly similarly to Governor’s race, but Kaul needs to watch his undervote (which shaved nearly 12k raw votes off of his margin compared to Evers’s margin.)
Colorado’s incumbent Attorney General is Democrat Phil Weiser. This year, Weiser is being challenged by prosecutor John Kellner. Kellner has been trying to take away the issue of abortion from Weiser, saying he would crack down on local governments
restricting access to abortion in violation of Colorado law. However, Weiser has still been leading polls outside of the margin of error and should be able to cruise to reelection as the Colorado Democratic ticket is in a solid place this year. Rating: Likely Democratic
Raúl Torrez, the Bernalillo County District Attorney, is the Democratic nominee to replace two term Attorney General Hector Balderas. Torrez defeated State Auditor Brian Colón in the primary to face off against veteran Jeremy Gay. Gay has faced allegations over carpetbagging, having moved to New Mexico in 2019. Normally, this wouldn’t be a legal issue, but according to the New Mexico Constitution statewide office candidates must have resided in the state for at least 5 years prior to election day. A former Bernalillo county Commissioner, James Collie, filed a petition in court to remove Gay from the ballot in early September. However, the case failed as the deadline to remove candidates from the ballot in New Mexico was August 30th. Meanwhile, Torrez has positioned himself as a tough on crime Democrat and is enjoying polling leads outside of the margin of error with the exception of one republican internal poll that still had Torrez ahead.
Rating: Likely Democratic
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is one of the more controversial attorneys general in the United States. He has been under indictment for seven years over securities fraud and most recently fled being issues a subpoena. In 2018, Paxton was the worst performing Republican state official (Ted Cruz is federal), only winning by about 3.5%. In 2022, he drew several primary challengers including Land Commissioner George P. Bush and Congressman Louie Gohmert. Paxton got under 50% in the first round, but easily defeated Bush in a runoff. Paxton is consistently the worst polling statewide official and likely would be the first to lose when the time comes. However, this year against former ACLU attorney Rochelle Garza, Paxton is still heavily favored.
Rating: Likely Republican