Election roundup: Other AG races across the nation

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Nov 3, 2010


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Legal Newsline) - Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has been re-elected.

The Democrat has served as the state's AG for the past four years.

According to The Associated Press, McDaniel had no Republican opponent in the general election, despite the party's criticism of McDaniel's decision not to join a lawsuit challenging President Barack Obama's federal health care package.

McDaniel's only opposition heading into Tuesday's election was Green Party nominee Rebekah Kennedy.

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DENVER, Colo. - Republican John Suthers was re-elected to a second term as Colorado's attorney general Tuesday.

According to The Denver Post, Suthers garnered 54 percent of the vote while his opponent, Democrat Stan Garnett, had 45 percent with 22 percent of the state's precincts reporting.

The Post reported Garnett, Boulder County's district attorney, conceded the race and called Suthers to congratulate him.

The race between the two had grown more contentious near the end, with the candidates trading barbs about who was more fit to run the attorney general's office.

Garnett had decided to enter the race because Suthers joined Colorado in a federal lawsuit opposing the Obama administration's health care reform law.

Suthers had maintained that joining the lawsuit was in the best interest of Coloradans.

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DES MOINES, Iowa - Iowa's longtime attorney general was re-elected Tuesday to yet another term.

According to The Associated Press, the Democrat Tom Miller held off GOP rival Brenna Findley, holding onto the job he's held since 1978, save for a four-year stretch after he lost the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

Findley, a 34-year-old former aide to conservative Iowa U.S. Rep. Steve King, had run a high-profile campaign, thanks in part to more than $1 million in donations, much of it from the state's Republican Party.

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TOPEKA, Kan. - Kansas state Sen. Derek Schmidt ousted his Democratic opponent and incumbent Steve Six for the attorney general's office.

According to The Topeka Capital-Journal, the Republican Schmidt acknowledged a telephone call from Six, who conceded the race for a job he held since being appointed in 2008.

Six had spent more than $1.2 million to defend his job against the onslaught by Schmidt, an Independence lawyer who is the Senate's majority leader.

Six had started raising money in March 2008, soon after he was appointed by then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who is now serving as President Barack Obama's Secretary of Health and Human Services.

The former Douglas County trial judge replaced Paul Morrison, who resigned over a sex scandal.

Schmidt graduated from University of Kansas and put himself through law school at Georgetown University while working for U.S. Sen. Nancy Landon Kassebaum, a Republican.

He worked as an assistant Kansas attorney general in the consumer protection division, served as general counsel to U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel and later served as special counsel to Gov. Bill Graves.

He and his wife, Jennifer, have two daughters, Caroline and Claire.

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BOSTON - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley easily won a second term in a race against a political newcomer.

According to The Boston Globe, with 60 percent of precincts reporting, the 57-year-old Democratic attorney general was leading Republican James P. McKenna, a former prosecutor in Suffolk and Worcester counties, 64 to 35 percent.

McKenna, who works as a solo practitioner, was only the second candidate since the 1970s to obtain a nomination for statewide office through a write-in campaign, the Globe noted.

Coakley's win came just 10 months after she suffered a humiliating defeat to Scott Brown in the battle for the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's seat.

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ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson defeated her GOP opponent in Tuesday's general election.

According to The St. Paul Pioneer Press, Swanson easily won her race.

Her opponent, Republican Chris Barden, an Edina attorney and psychologist, had pledged to join a court challenge to the Obama administration's health care reform package.

He had hoped to become the state's first Republican attorney general since Douglas Head's single term ended in 1971.

Swanson, of Eagan, was first elected attorney general in 2006 and has since focused on consumer protection and fraud prevention. She has said she will continue to focus on those issues during her new term.

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LAS VEGAS - Nevada has re-elected Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto.

Masto was easily ahead of Republican Travis Barrick, leading by 20 percentage points when The Associated Press called the race for her.

Masto will be serving her second term.

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SANTA FE, N.M. - Democratic incumbent Gary King won a second term as New Mexico's attorney general.

According to The Santa Fe New Mexican, King was winning with 52 percent of the vote before final returns were tallied. He was propelled with more than 70 percent of the vote in Santa Fe County, where he lives.

When King ran four years ago, he carried almost 57 percent of the vote over Jim Bibb, the newspaper reported.

His GOP challenger, Matt Chandler of Clovis, the district attorney in Curry and Roosevelt counties, hammered King on the issue of governmental corruption during the campaign.

Chandler, who was elected as district attorney in 2004, is the son of former state Sen. Caleb Chandler.

King is a former state lawmaker and son of New Mexico's longest-serving governor, the late Bruce King.

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Republican Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem cruised to re-election in North Dakota on Tuesday.

According to The Associated Press, with 23 percent of precincts reporting, Stenehjem had 76 percent of the vote to 24 percent for Jeanette Boechler, a Fargo attorney.

Boechler was chosen by Democratic leaders after no candidate showed interest at the party's convention.

It was Stenehjem's fourth successful statewide race for the job of North Dakota's top law enforcement officer.

Stenehjem is a former Grand Forks state senator who was first elected attorney general in 2000.

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Republicans have seized the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office for the first time in 30 years.

The Associated Press reported that Scott Pruitt defeated Democrat Jim Priest Tuesday. He will replace Drew Edmondson, who has spent 16 years in office and undertook an unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign this year.

Oklahoma's last Republican attorney general was G.T. Blankenship, who served from 1967-1971.

Blankenship is also the only Republican attorney general since the office was formed in 1907.

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Democratic lawmaker Peter Kilmartin will succeed Patrick Lynch as Rhode Island's attorney general.

Kilmartin cruised to a victory Tuesday over Republican Erik Wallen and Chris Little of the Moderate Party.

Kilmartin is a retired police captain and a member of the state House of Representatives. Lynch could not run because of term limits and withdrew from the gubernatorial race.

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COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina voters elected Republican Alan Wilson to fill the role of the state's attorney general.

The Associated Press declared Wilson the winner with 90 percent of state precincts reporting.

The son of Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson was leading his two opponents with about 54 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results. Democrat Matthew Richardson garnered 43 percent of the vote, while Green Party candidate Leslie Minerd trailed a distant third with 2 percent.

Wilson, 36, will succeed Attorney General Henry McMaster, who unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for governor. This is Wilson's first bid for public office.

The race took a nasty turn in the final few weeks, with Wilson running ads questioning if Richardson would really be willing to challenge President Barack Obama in court over his health care reform law.

Both men agreed McMaster was right to sue the Obama administration over its $938 billion health care package.

Wilson has said South Carolina must stay in the forefront of the issue.

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PIERRE, S.D. - South Dakota voters have given Republican Attorney General Marty Jackley a full, four-year term.

According to The Sioux Falls Argus Leader, Jackley collected a "dominating" 67 to 33 percent victory over his Democratic challenger, Ron Volesky.

The Huron Democrat ran unsuccessfully for the same office in the 2002 and 2006 elections.

This was Jackley's first campaign after the governor appointed him to the job late last year to fill the unexpired term of Larry Long, who left the office to become a judge.

The Sturgis native was the U.S. Attorney for South Dakota before he became the state's top lawyer.

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MONTPELIER, Vt. - Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell coasted to his seventh two-year term as the state's AG, easily topping a field of five candidates, according to The Associated Press.

The 63-year-old Democrat was appointed by former Gov. Howard Dean in 1997 and has easily won in every election year since.

Other candidates in the race were Republican Aaron Michael Toscano, Progressive Charlotte Dennett, Liberty Union candidate Rosemarie Jackowski and Karen Kerin, a Libertarian.

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MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen easily won re-election to a second term Tuesday over Democratic challenger Scott Hassett.

According to The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, Van Hollen held a nearly 2-to-1 lead through most of the night.

A former state prosecutor and U.S. attorney in Madison, he was first elected in 2006, narrowly beating Kathleen Falk to become the only Republican to win statewide office that year, the Journal Sentinel noted.

Hassett is the former secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and a veteran trial lawyer. His only other political race was a 1982 state Senate primary that he narrowly lost to Russ Feingold.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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