Judgment day for two AG posts

John O'Brien Nov. 6, 2007, 1:15pm





Mississippi's Jim Hood will be trying to hang on to his job, while Jack Conway will be trying to hold on to his lead in Kentucky in today's two Attorney General elections.

According to one poll, the Democrat Conway's big lead has only grown in the past few months over Republican Stan Lee in the battle to replace Democrat Greg Stumbo.

Meanwhile, a recently unsealed lawsuit by State Farm Insurance Cos. against Hood could provide a boost in the voting for Republican challenger Al Hopkins, though Sid Salter of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger is predicting a Hood victory.

"Despite pounding Hood over the practice of giving outside counsel legal contracts to a number of his biggest campaign contributors, Hopkins never got the traction necessary to unseat the incumbent," Salter wrote.

Hopkins has routinely made issue of Hood's contracts with outside counsel, specifically a settlement with MCI that led to $14 million in attorneys fees. Joey Langston, one of Hood's largest contributors, took half of the fees.

Hopkins put a list of all Hood's contributors who have been given state work by Hood on his campaign website. Some of those were hired to help sue five insurance companies after Hurricane Katrina. State Farm recently sued Hood, claiming he is threatening the company with criminal investigations in an attempt to coerce a civil settlement.

Hood claimed Hopkins does not have the experience necessary to handle the criminal side of the office.

Conway, a trial lawyer from Louisville, enjoys a 22-percent lead over Lee, according to a poll conducted last week by the Courier-Journal of Louisville. An earlier poll showed a 21-percent lead.

"The polls are what they are, but I'm not sure I agree with them," Lee said, according to the report.

Stumbo is leaving his post, having taken a failed run at Lieutenant Governor this year. He's currently mulling a run for the U.S. Senate next year.

This year, Stumbo filed the first price-fixing lawsuit against a major oil refinery and the maker of prescription painkiller OxyContin.

Lee said he would have to "take a hard look" at dropping the suits if he is elected.

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