Politics, State Attorneys General

Republican Momentum Stalls at State Attorneys General Offices

Mmm... gridlock.

If you like gridlock (and as lawyers, you should love gridlock) last night was a big night for you. Thanks to a divided Congress and a weakened President, we shouldn’t be seeing any national legislation for some time. And even as Republicans enjoyed gains in state legislatures around the country, in many cases the State Attorney General office landed in the hands of Democrats. So even if something does managed to get passed, expected it to be gummed up in the courts for a good long while.

Looking at the contested races for Attorney General around the country, we’re seeing that the Tea Party message will still hasn’t been developed into a coherent strategy as to how government lawyers should approach their jobs.

One of the biggest State AG races was in New York, where Democrat Eric Schneiderman scored a victory over well funded city Republican, Dan Donovan. The weakness of Tea Party darling Carl Paladino at the top of the New York Republican ticket didn’t help Donovan’s chances.

In California, a very close A.G. race is showing a slight lead for Democrat Kamala Harris, over Republican Steve Cooley. They’re still counting absentee ballots out there, it’s that close.

But whatever, it’s easy to discount Democrat resilience in New York and California. But outside NYC and L.A., where the ostensibly real Americans live, the top lawyer races were split and didn’t support the “tsunami theory” of Republican domination being pushed by the mainstream media folks…

In Iowa, the people booted out state court judges and returned Republicans to the state’s lower chamber, but kept their Democrat Attorney General, Tom Miller.

In Connecticut, it looks like Democrat George Jepsen will win a razor thin election against Republican Martha Dean. And in Massachusetts, Martha Coakley, she of “what kind of idiot Democratic loses Ted Kennedy’s seat to a dude in a truck” fame, bounced back with a solid win to remain AG.

Meanwhile, Republican AG candidates also enjoyed some nice victories. Republicans notched victories in South Dakota, Wisconsin, Florida, and Colorado (even as Colorado was electing a Democrat to the U.S. Senate). Three of those four victories were won by candidates who had previously served as U.S. attorneys. That should be heartening to Democrats and moderate Republicans, as it appears that the Republican AG victors were qualified, reasonable people. Only in Florida did the “red wave” sweep in one of those Tea Party people. Fox News legal analyst and Stetson Law graduate Pam Bondi blew away Dan Gelber.

Looking at those results, I don’t see a mandate either way. Divided government, FTW. It seems like the Tea Party has a long way to go before it becomes a movement capable of dictating statewide politics on a large scale.

Schneiderman Overcomes Albany Taint in Attorney General Win [New York Law Journal]
Kamala Harris clings to narrow lead over Steve Cooley for attorney general [L.A. Times]
Jepsen Wins Connecticut Attorney General Post In Close Election [CT Watchdog]
Martha Coakley bounces back with solid win in attorney general race [Boston Herald]
Three Former U.S. Attorneys Win Attorney General Posts [Main Justice]
Pam Bondi defeats Dan Gelber to be new attorney general [Daily Business Review]

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