High profile AGs to skip annual NAAG meeting

Chris Rizo Feb. 26, 2010, 8:38pm

Greg Abbott (R-Texas)

Jerry Brown (D-Calif.)

Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.)

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline)-Three of the nation's highest profile state attorneys general are skipping the annual convention next week of their counterparts from around the nation.

Among those not attending the three-day meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General is Greg Abbott of Texas, a Republican, and Democrats Jerry Brown of California and Andrew Cuomo of New York.

Abbott is not attending the NAAG meeting presumably because his state holds its Republican primary Tuesday. Abbott, first elected the state's chief legal officer in 2002, faces a challenge this year by Democrat Barbara Ann Radnofsky.

It was not clear why Cuomo is not attending. He captured national headlines this week for hammering out an agreement with Toyota Motor Corp. that extends free alternative transportation to Toyota owners while their recalled vehicles are being repaired.

As for Brown, political observers say the rock star in some Democratic circles is apparently not much for confabs unless he has a specific issue.

As California governor, he routinely skipped National Governors Association meetings, as mayor of Oakland, Calif., he often skipped U.S. Conference of Mayors meetings and as AG he is not much for NAAG meetings either, said longtime political observer Barbara O'Connor, director of the Institute for the Study of Politics and Media at Sacramento State University.

"This is a pattern of behavior," O'Connor told Legal Newsline. "I don't think he thinks much gets done, and he really believes that you stay and do what you need to do here."

Besides, she said, Brown is preparing to run again for California governor, a post he held from 1975 to 1983. He is the only Democrat publicly considering a run to succeed Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Golden State's chief executive.

"Timing of the (NAAG) meeting is just bad," O'Connor said. "Here, he is doing a lot of media and he is getting his own campaign launch in order, by all indications."

Brown may run to succeed Schwarzenegger because Brown led the state before term limits were enacted. On the Republican side vying to replace Schwarzenegger is former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman and state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner.

Also not attending the NAAG meeting are the attorneys general from Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Minnesota, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin, Wyoming and West Virginia.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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