Quick Guide: AG Elections: Summing Up 2023 and Eying Up 2024

The 2023 AG elections showed Republican wins across the board, contrasting with Democratic success across the country on ballot initiatives in Ohio, judicial races in Pennsylvania, legislative races in Virginia and the Kentucky governor’s race. In Episode 10, Stephen Cobb and Emily Yu parse the 2023 elections and consider the implications for 2024, when 10 states will vote for AG.

(0:24) Stephen introduces himself and colleague Emily Yu. He sets the scene for today’s conversation, a review of the recent AG elections in Louisiana, Mississippi and Kentucky and what they portend locally and nationally.

(1:33) Emily explains that in October, current Louisiana AG Jeff Landry won his gubernatorial primary with a high enough percentage of the vote that he was elected outright. The two candidates for AG, Liz Murrill and Lindsey Cheek, advance to the runoff election on November 18th.

(1:57) Stephen predicts a big win for Liz Murrill. He explains that in Kentucky, Democrat Andy Beshear, former attorney general himself, achieved 53% of the vote in the governor’s race, but Russell Coleman pulled away with almost 60% of the vote for Republicans making for a large split ticket.

(2:56) Emily observes that this tracks with a recent history of split ticket voting in Kentucky.

(3:19) Stephen equates the Beshear name with “political royalty” and notes that this result reinforces the value and importance of name recognition and the challenges faced by state AG candidates of either party in raising sufficient funds to establish who they are and how they’re different from their opponent.

(4:12) Emily draws attention to the McConnell connection enjoyed by Russell Coleman and current AG Daniel Cameron, and Stephen observes that this seems to have given a boost to Coleman. He notes AG Lynn Fitch’s convincing reelection victory in Mississippi with nearly 60% of the vote, which did not come as a surprise, given her high approval ratings and institutional presence.

(5:27) Emily expresses her view that a key Democratic strategy seems to have been to highlight the issue of post-Dobbs abortion access.

(6:00) Stephen agrees that, regardless of political ideology, the issue of women’s reproductive rights has proven to be a successful one for Democrats, and gives his view that it will be an interesting policy area to watch in the cycles ahead. He moves on to assess the political landscape looking ahead to 2024 with AG elections in 10 states including five open seat races, and summarizes the situation in North Carolina and Oregon.

(7:17) Emily predicts Indiana, Missouri, and Montana will lean Republican.

(7:24) Stephen adds that West Virginia could be a state to watch.

(8:37) Stephen asks Emily what she has observed through the campaign process about the incoming AGs’ priorities and manner of regulatory oversight and advocacy.

(9:11) Emily notes Liz Murrill’s experience as solicitor general, and Stephen agrees that that has provided her with a high degree of familiarity with such issues as joining multistates, suing the federal government, and doing sign-on letters, where she will likely stay on the front foot. They agree that Russell Coleman’s background as a former US attorney will lend itself to his having a law-and-order focused administration.

(10:41) Stephen concludes by observing that in Mississippi, it will be business as usual for AG Fitch.

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To read more about the news story on which this podcast is based, click here.