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Elections Are About The Future

In this special post-election episode, host Lori Kalani talks with her partners Jerry Kilgore, Milton Marquis, Paul Connell and Mira Baylson about the outcomes in last Tuesday’s state AG races, from the strength of the incumbents, to the power of campaign messaging and funding. They speculate on what the at least 14 newly elected AGs will bring to the office, and how they’re likely to build out their staffs. And they provide a final reckoning on the reliability of Bernie’s predictions.

PRODUCED IN COLLABORATION WITH:

Chris Allen, Member, Executive Producer

Suzette Bradbury, Director of Practice Group Marketing (State AG Group)

Elisabeth Hill Hodish, Policy Analyst

Legal Internet Solutions Incorporated

Transcript

Lori Kalani

Welcome to State AG Pulse’s special post-election edition. Over the last nine months, Cozen O’Connor’s State AG Group has been intently following the 31 State AG elections across the country and bringing you analysis and insights on the candidates and the races. With election day finally over, we’re pleased to bring you a special edition of State AG Pulse to discuss what happened on Tuesday and what it means for business.

I’m your host, Lori Kalani, and I’m joined on this special episode by four of my partners: Jerry Kilgore, previously AG in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Milton Marquis, former antitrust and consumer protection litigator in the offices of the Attorneys General of Massachusetts and Virginia, Paul Connell, former chief deputy in the Wisconsin AG’s office, and Mira Baylson, a Philadelphia native and seasoned trial attorney. So with that, let’s jump right in.

I’m really excited to be here with my brain trust of partners. Milton, Jerry, Mira, Paul, thanks for joining me. How you doing, Milton?

Milton Marquis

Doing great, thank you.

Lori Kalani

Great, great. Jerry, good to see you.

Jerry Kilgore

Good to be with you

Lori Kalani

And Mira and Paul, I’m excited you’re here. So let’s jump right in. It was an exciting election night. Maybe each of you could talk about what your one highlight of the evening was, just to get us started.

Jerry Kilgore

Well, I will kick off and just say that the highlight for me was to again stress that candidates do matter. Who you nominate for these offices make a big difference and we saw that all around the nation, not only at the national level, but at the AG level. You saw candidates and states that Republicans should have played better in, but because of the candidate quality in a couple of those states, they just did not. And we can talk about that further as we get into this discussion, but candidates do matter and it showed on election night.

Lori Kalani

Totally agree. Milton.

Milton Marquis

I guess what surprised me was the ability of the incumbents. I know, Nevada, the votes are still being counted, so we probably won’t know a winner for a few days, but I think as of this morning of the taping, Attorney General Ford had a five percentage point lead, I believe, in ballots that were cast. Just looking at the Senate race there, the speculation is that the outstanding votes will probably be from Clark County and Democrats. ao, st least for my purpose, I’m going to put that in the win column for the incumbent. I was just surprised … I looked at three states that were kind of swinging, looking at the Midwestern states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota. Now, Minnesota has historically been Democrat, but it’s kind of a dark purple. It’s not a solid blue state, but certainly Wisconsin and Michigan historically had Republican AGs over the years, and governors. So to have the Democrats do kind of a clean sweep, as it looks today, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, and Nevada, I found that surprising. I thought that at least there may be a change at least two of those, but they had a clean sweep and just echoing what Jerry said, I think a lot of that is due to … I think the incumbents there are very strong. I think they had good records to run on, but oftentimes that may not necessarily matter if you’re in a wave election. But I do think candidate quality does matter.

Lori Kalani

Yeah, and so I guess that’s a good lesson. Don’t listen to the polls. And with that, I’ll throw it over to Paul.

Paul Connell

Yeah, thank you. I actually want to pick up on something that both Jerry and Milton said, and it’s about the three states in the upper Midwest: Wisconsin where I live, Minnesota, and Iowa. To me it was very clear that the AG candidates running, it was really going to matter whether the Republican governor candidates prevailed, and in Iowa, by how much Governor Kim Reynolds was going to win that race. That was what really carried Brenna Bird across the finish line. Then if you look in Wisconsin and Minnesota, both Republican candidates came up well short. Dr. Jensen lost by at least eight points in Minnesota and Jim Schultz, as of now, is trailing by less than a percent. If the Republican governor candidate in Minnesota had been stronger or kept it closer, Keith Ellison might not be the AG moving forward. And the same thing is true here in Wisconsin. Tim Michaels proved to be a really poor candidate for governor and lost by three to five points. And Eric Toney lost by a total of 35,000 total votes.

So candidate quality matters, but the top of the ticket in most … Every ballot in the United States generally starts with a governor’s race at the top left corner. And if those races don’t stay close for a challenger, it makes it that much more of an uphill race.

Lori Kalani

I want to hear from Mira, but that’s a really good point. It begs the question about how coordinated the campaigns are, or how coordinated they should be going into the next election, governor and AG. I know sometimes that’s easier said than done, but I’ll stop there. Mira?

Mira Baylson

Yeah, thanks Lori. I agree with a lot of what has already been said. Candidates matter, but I also think the issues that the candidates were raising played a very large, and in some ways out-sized role. By that I’m referring to, I think Dobbs and the effect that Dobbs had on really getting the Democrats to get out the vote can’t be ignored. But I also want to flag, there were a number of state officials or state candidates on the Republican side who we’re running on election integrity, going out for election fraud and things like that. I did not get the sense that that had any traction with Republicans or wasn’t a means to get them out to vote. I thought that that was very interesting considering how much of the national discourse is about the Big Lie or whether or not Biden was truly elected. It seemed to me that the candidates who focused on that as their biggest issue really fell flat. Now questionable whether or not that was because they were the candidates they were or because that was the issue they chose. Chicken or the egg? But I do think that that was important along with Dobbs. It’s kind of an interesting look at who succeeded and who didn’t, particularly on the R side, from my perspective.

Lori Kalani :

That’s interesting because I was watching the news and Arizona hasn’t been decided yet, but listening to the Arizona candidates, in particular the governor, there’s a lot of discussion about the governor candidates, about the election integrity. You’re right. That certainly is an issue for some candidates. Paul, you were going to say something?

Paul Connell

Yeah, I just wanted to pick up on something Mira said. I mean, elections are about the future and that’s how most people vote. So when you look at the governor’s race in Pennsylvania, the candidate from the Republican side spending a lot of his time and his energy and fire on de-certification and what happened in the presidential election two years ago, that’s not going to sway independent voters. To see that across the United States, you’re right, Mira, you make a very good point that most AG candidates that spent their time on that, they’re not going to succeed. People are voting, they want to hear what you’re going to do for them moving forward, not what happened in the past.

Mira Baylson

Yeah, that’s a really good point. One other thing that I hope we talk about, and I’ll just put this out there for the group, the other issue that I think was brought up again and again was crime. You guys know that I spend a lot of time thinking about criminal justice reform, and for me a lot of the crime is horrible. We need to fix it. Calls that occurred in the AG races were kind of hollow, particularly because AGs rarely have true criminal jurisdiction, and obviously Jerry can talk to that more than anyone on this call, but whether or not that was successful as a campaign tactic, I’m very interested in people’s ideas. I mean, certainly with the Minnesota AG election, that was, I think, the number one thing that was being said against Ellison being reelected. I just am curious as to the thoughts on whether or not that was successful as a campaign tact or whether that’s something that motivated voters.

Jerry Kilgore

I think had the Republican AG candidates stuck to the crime issue, like the guy did in Minnesota, like Virginia was last year, I think they would have found maybe greater success if their resume had supported their crime-fighting credentials. Unfortunately in some of these swing states, the resume did not add up to what a crime-fighter would be at the end of the day. You look at what happened in Virginia last year and that you had Miyares totally talking about crime. That was his number one issue, even though the AG’s office has some to deal with the crime issue, but not an overwhelming amount to deal with crime. But in Minnesota, likewise, the Republican candidate there did a great job in focusing on the crime issue and made that race close in a what I would say is a very Democrat state. I mean, a Republican hasn’t won statewide there in decades now, and he’s made that race close.

Lori Kalani

Yeah, I was surprised that more candidates weren’t talking about the economy in the sense that their office has the duty to protect consumers. In an economy that’s reeling like ours is, protecting consumers matters. People have … their money doesn’t go as far. Their dollars are stretched. It’s ever more important that consumers are protected in a sense. I guess another policy point on that would be if I’m the AG, I’m not going to hurt businesses by investigating where there’s nothing there to investigate. I’m going to be very careful about maintaining business credibility, but not taking that too far. I think that may have been a point that somebody could have made. I’m no campaign person, but I think that would’ve resonated with people, as well. I didn’t see a lot of that.

Milton Marquis

Yeah, I think that’s right. Message discipline is very important, whether you’re in a courtroom, whether you’re advocating before an AGs office, which we all do, that you want to be consistent in your message. You don’t want to be jumping all around. There are usually two or three points that you really want to drive home when you’re an advocate. Seems to me, I’m no expert in campaigns, but as someone who listens to advocacy, that’s very important. But, I think as someone said, you have to have the resume to back it up. I think that AG candidates that are successful are ones that can hone that message, whether it’s on crime. While we on this call, we spend 24/7 thinking about AGs, working with AGs, and Jerry has been an AG, Paul has been a chief deputy. We know that these offices have limited criminal jurisdiction, but the general public 1, knows very little about what an Attorney General does. 2, to the extent that they think they know, they see the Attorney General as the chief law enforcer, which is true, and the crime fighter. And so I think candidates in this wave, kind of post-, well still in the pandemic, but we all saw a spike in crime and people are concerned about that and they should be. And so I think that the candidates that did well, that kind of over-performed were successful in getting that message through.

Lori Kalani

I’ll use Andrea Campbell as an example, again when I’m thinking about business. She won the election in Massachusetts handily. And she’s somebody who I would expect, and I don’t think any of you would disagree, will be very active in consumer protection. But on the occasions I spoke with her, she also was very measured. And I think she was able to balance that message of she’s going to protect the people in Massachusetts. She’s going to have her eye out for the vulnerable communities. But by the same token, she always said, ” I recognize there needs to be a level playing field. I recognize that businesses and industry can be good players and that they have to run their businesses and they have shareholders, but there’s a balance that can be achieved there. And I don’t have a preconceived notion that it can’t be achieved.” And so that’s sort of my thought, there seems to be extremes or you have candidates who talk more about crime than they did about the things they’re really doing on a daily basis. And so I really look forward to working with the new Massachusetts AG ‘cos I think that will be a great experience, based on what I’ve heard from her. And by the same token, Brenna Bird in Iowa also had that same approach, which is she’s got a job to do, she’s got to enforce against bad actors. But she also recognizes the place that businesses have with respect to the economy and particularly the people of Iowa. So that would be my campaign advice when I’m running a campaign, which I never will be, but that’s beside the point. So I should have said earlier, my highlight of the evening was the fact that we had all of the AG races in one place, really proud of that. Our team worked to have an AP widget where we obviously had all of the AG elections roll onto our website in one place and it saved all of our colleagues, who usually stay up all night scrolling and scrolling, getting carpal tunnel syndrome, finding who was ahead and reporting back to us on those elections. So I think that was really great. I still stayed up most of the night, but it certainly was a more efficient use of my time seeing it all in one place. I was taken aback by how close so many races were throughout the night, really, really close. I don’t remember in the past few races, so many states having such a close race. So we’re going to be meeting, or meeting again, I guess, at least 14 AGs who will be new to the office to account for the 12 open seats and in Pennsylvania where Josh Shapiro won his gubernatorial race and in Missouri where Eric Schmidt won the Senate seat. So Mira, you’d be the best person to ask. Any insight on who the next AG will be in Pennsylvania?

Mira Baylson

Well, I think a lot of people are guessing. I think the assumption is that it’s going to be someone who’s already in the office. Historically, the person who takes over for an AG who has moved on to a different office is someone who’s considered nonpolitical. And in Pennsylvania, the governor will appoint the person, but then it has to be approved by two thirds of the Senate. So it appears that generally, that’s more of a rubber stamp as long as that person is middle of the road, nonpolitical and a sort of, alumni of the office as it were. Many people think it’s going to be Michelle Henry, who’s the first deputy and has been for many years under Shapiro. She is a former assistant district attorney from the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office in Pennsylvania. She has a lot of leadership experience, but she’s never been elected to any office. And based on my personal interactions with her, I don’t think she would ever seek election. But I do know that she’s very well respected in the office and she’s very well liked. I don’t know how much involvement she has on, what I’ll call, the civil side of things, consumer protection and that stuff. But as you all on this call know and many of our listeners do, the Pennsylvania office has a lot of very senior people in those roles who I’m sure are well trusted to handle things regardless of who is in the leadership position there. But it’ll be interesting to see who he actually chooses in the end.

Lori Kalani

So just to put a finer point on it, the governor chooses the interim AG. Is that the new governor, Josh Shapiro? Or is it the current governor?

Mira Baylson

My understanding is it doesn’t have to be the new governor, it could be the old governor, but traditionally it is the new governor, the governor-elect. There was an interesting article in Law360 that laid out some of this today, and they made the point, and this seems true. They could just not appoint anyone, just sort of leave the office open and have the first deputy running things for a while. So who knows if there’s going to be any quick movement on that or if it’s just going to sort of linger until after January.

Milton Marquis

And Mira, you may want to note that in Pennsylvania, and I think this is unique to Pennsylvania, that the governor and the attorney general run in different cycles. So we’re talking about two years of an interim AG before the next AG election.

Mira Baylson

Thanks, Milton. Absolutely. So it’s not six months we’re talking here, it’s a lengthy period of time.

Lori Kalani
We could have a whole entire other podcast on all the people that are probably throwing their hat in the ring to be the next Pennsylvania AG after the interim AG. But we’ll save that for another podcast because I’ve got campaign exhaustion and there’s plenty to talk about here. Paul, Jerry, any insight on Missouri and who may be the AG there when Eric Schmitt goes to the US Senate? And that’s the same situation for our listeners where the AG was midterm and so has two years left until the next regular AG election?

Jerry Kilgore

No, there’s been some discussion. Of course the governor will make the appointment and there’s been some discussion that it could be one of the former United States Attorneys that served under the Trump Administration for Missouri to be the attorney general. We just don’t know at this point who it actually will be.

Paul Connell

The newest name that’s been thrown out there, Lori, is actually the governor’s, I guess his general counsel, Andrew Bailey. Who has a kind of a background in government, has been a prosecutor and obviously he’s been working very closely for the governor.

Lori Kalani

So I’m just interested in Missouri. Eric Schmitt had been the interim AG, appointed by the governor when Josh Hawley was elected to the US Senate. So he really hasn’t been in that office very long and Josh Hawley had not been in that office very long. So interested to know your thoughts on whether or not there’ll be a complete exodus of at least the people at the more senior levels. Will they go work for Schmitt in this senate role? I know Missouri’s not close to DC, but I assume he has a local office. Or will some of those people stick around and work, without Eric there?

Jerry Kilgore

For the most part, a US Senate office does not have those types of jobs, if you know what I mean. They don’t have the legal jobs, a couple in DC and on some of the committees. So I’m telling clients out there that I believe that a new AG will be appointed, but the staff will remain, at least at this senior level for some time. It may be a short period of time, but at least enough time to give the new AG time to get around the office, see what he or she might need in that office before making changes.

Paul Connell

That’s an important question, Lori, for our clients, of course. Eric Schmitt kept on a lot of Josh Hawley’s hires and Josh Hawley hired a lot of folks, very highly qualified with deep ties to the Federalist Society. So much of that office is still very much tied back, now it’ll be two AGs in the past as this new person comes in. And obviously Eric Schmitt has been at the forefront, asking a lot of antitrust questions around tech. It’s public that there’s a lot of questions that he’s leading on in the world about ESG now. So those are very, very important questions coming up and who the governor appoints is going to speak very much to what our clients and other businesses out there can expect going forward.

Lori Kalani

Got it. Thanks Paul. So I want to talk about Maryland for a minute because the last four, well, I guess it’s the last eight years, Brian Frosh was there for eight years, and he is retiring. And Anthony Brown, who has won the election will be the next AG and he’s a really dynamic guy coming from Congress and he’s got quite the resume. How do you see that office changing? And obviously, Maryland’s had a lot of the same staff for a lot of years, and I just wonder if Anthony Brown will make a whole lot of changes there and bring a lot of his own people, even in the non-legal roles in the front office. I’d be interested to hear what you think, Milton.

Milton Marquis

Well, as the resident Maryland resident, I think that he will bring in his own people kind of at the senior deputy level, say 3, 4, 5 people that he would bring in, not necessarily from his Congressional office. As Jerry indicated, when you’re a Congressperson or Senator, you don’t have huge staffs and you certainly don’t have staffers that have the kind of legal background that would be appropriate in an AG’s office. So I would expect that he’s not going to make huge changes below his three or four deputies. And I guess that’s for a couple reasons. 1, that’s not the tradition of that office. Now, there have not been that many AGs in the last 20 years. You have obviously General Frosh, and you had General Gansler eight years before then, and then you had someone who was in office for 20 plus years. So you’ve really had three AGs in the last couple of decades. So that’s not really a tradition. And I think the governing principle of General-elect or Congressman Brown and General Frosh are probably about the same; very certainly progressive and pro-consumer but willing to listen. So I think temperamentally, they’re about the same. They’ve worked together. Before Congressman Brown was a Congressperson, he was Lieutenant Governor. General Frosh was in the leadership, certainly very important state Senator before he was elected AG. So they all run in the same circles, same wing, to the extent that there are wings in the Democratic Party in Maryland, which is the governing party. So I would not expect big changes.

Lori Kalani

Well, I find it pretty interesting that a lot of these candidates, as I look at the list of not candidates now, AGs-elect. In South Dakota and Vermont, in South Dakota, Marty Jackley, who was the AG, is back, so I think that will be a hit the ground running office. And in Vermont, Charity Clark was elected AG, and she’s been in that office for several years. So I think that’s an interesting dynamic, less transition and getting-up-to-speed time. And then there’s some offices with some former legislators like Anthony Brown and Tim Griffin. And then there’s Andrea Campbell, who was in local politics. But then it’s interesting to me, because we have a couple of new AGs who really appear to me to be pretty business-minded. Nebraska, Oklahoma, those AGs are certainly attorneys and have, again, very impressive resumes, but they strike me as being a little bit more business. And maybe, I would say, Brian Schwalb, who ran a big law firm in DC, I think he’s probably a subset of them. But what are your thoughts on those AGs, the ones we would call the more business-minded?

Jerry Kilgore

Well, I do think on the Republican side, at least on the new Republicans that are coming in, you’re going to have a mix of more populist-oriented conservative Republicans and business-minded Republicans. I’m reading in Nebraska, as you mentioned, Oklahoma, it’s yet to be seen where they will be on some of the more populist movements that some of the AGs have taken on the Republican side over the past couple years with the Biden administration. And then you have others that I think will be a significant change to that particular state, in that Labrador in Idaho will be much more populist and conservative than Lawrence Wasden has been, as will Kris Kobach in Kansas, be much more populist-conservative than Derek Schmidt has been as Attorney General.

Mira Baylson

I have a question about Kansas, and we can come back to it, but you just raised that for me. And I’m interested in everyone’s perspective about the split ticket there, because unlike most places, governors stayed D there, but the AG went R. So I’m curious as to thoughts on that. I know it’s a breakaway from the business conversation, so apologies if I’m interjecting here.

Jerry Kilgore

I do think in looking at numbers nationally for state AGs, that you see a drop-off from people coming to vote in a governor’s race or a state or a US Senate race. Or even a presidential race, for those in the presidential year, and those that stay in and vote on those down-ballot races. So I think Republicans traditionally stay in that voting booth and vote down the line for their ticket. I think you see a lot of Democrats that do not vote, and then low-propensity voters that came to vote for the US Senate candidate or the governor’s candidate, and they leave the voting booth.

Paul Connell

And Mira, just to pick up on what Jerry just said, Kris Kobach got 496,000 votes as of this morning. And Laura Kelly, who was reelected, got 484,000 votes in Kansas as the governor candidate. So none of us are from Kansas, we don’t know what to make of that. But it must mean something, whether it was advertising dollars or the issues set. But there was something that clearly drove Republicans to the ballot there to make sure they voted for a Republican attorney general. And perhaps whether it was an issue set, or they wanted a more activist AG office in general, there’s a fascinating tale there to be told.

Lori Kalani

And in Kansas, I think Kris Kobach raised less money, at least in their personal fundraising, he raised less money than the Democrat opponents. So if I look at all the other races, always as we know, it looks like money matters, but maybe money doesn’t matter all the time. And I will note that Ken Paxton raised a whole heck of a lot of money and obviously, he prevailed. And Texas is a big state. But I’d love your thoughts on money in the AG races, and how you all think that plays in here.

Milton Marquis

Well, I guess just to pick up on Paul, Attorney General-elect Kobach, I mean, he’s been an elected official. He’s got a pretty high name ID. So that might account for him overperforming compared to where the governor.

Lori Kalani

Yeah, thank you. And that may also account for why he wins, but he raised less money. I should have said that. Thanks, Milton.

Milton Marquis

Well, go ahead, Paul.

Paul Connell

Oh, I was going to say overall, Lori, to your question, what is it? Money is the mother’s milk of politics? Is that the saying? And that is always true across the country. Candidates that have more money in close races are going to be the ones that are going to prevail most of the time. And overcoming even a weak, I talked about at my first comment that there were some candidates that had to run alongside weaker gubernatorial candidates. And there’s little question if, I haven’t looked at the numbers, but if Eric Toney or Jim Schultz had an extra million dollars of their own hard money, they probably could have squeezed across the finish line. So fundraising continues to be everything in a lot of these races. And candidly, more and more, it’ll be interesting to see when all is said and done, how much money did RAGA and DAGA dump into all these races around the country? I suspect it is a good percentage more than it was four years ago.

Jerry Kilgore

And I think that’s why you see to date, as of today, only one change in all these AG races, and it’s because of the money situation. The power of the incumbency is so great that in Wisconsin for instance, the incumbent AG had millions more than the challenger.

Lori Kalani

And I think in Iowa, I read some articles, I haven’t looked at the money that each candidate had there, but in Iowa, I think that’s an interesting story too because we were watching the polls, and very early on, the polls showed that the Republican would win the AG race. Then halfway through the last month, the polls completely flipped and said that Tom Miller, who obviously was in that office since, I believe, 1978, had name recognition and was leading in the polls, but whether it was money or outside money or the governor’s race, I think that was one of those that became very hard to predict, if you believe the polls.

Jerry Kilgore

It was the growing reddening of Iowa. I mean, Iowa has been on this track to turn red for now the last eight years. Used to be Iowa was the true two-party state. It’s why the Iowa caucuses were so big for everybody, because it was the place to go to get a good array of voters on both sides. That’s not the Iowa today. Iowa is red, it is getting brighter red, and it was a matter of time. It was nothing that Tom Miller did. I mean, Tom Miller has served greatly as the Attorney General there. He has worked with a lot of us on a lot of issues, and it’s an easy office to work with. He’s always open to talk about issues. But at the end of the day, when your governor’s candidate, a Republican governor is winning by 20-plus points, it is going to put every Democrat on the ballot in jeopardy in that state.

Paul Connell

And just further to that point, Governor Reynolds got about 706,000 votes. Brenna Bird got about 609,000 votes. There was almost a hundred thousand vote fall-off. But on the Democrat side, this is absolutely fascinating. The gubernatorial candidate in Iowa got 481,000 votes. Tom Miller ran ahead of that by 109,000 votes. Tom Miller’s name ID and fair amount of funding, DAGA played I think there pretty significantly with some dollars. He came up short, but he had over almost a hundred thousand more votes than his gubernatorial lead in that race. Which really owes to his, I know we all know he campaigned very hard and whatnot but Iowa has been trending, ever since President Trump won that state in 2016, it has trended further and further Republican each year. And I think that that’s really the thing that finally caught up with Tom Miller this year.

Lori Kalani

So let’s talk about predictions for a minute. Even though Bernie is not with us, for those of you who listened to our previous podcasts, we were all waiting with baited breath to hear Bernie’s predictions. I would say his predictions are usually the ones that are the easiest to make, because Bernie hates to be wrong and I say that with all the affection and respect for Bernie in the world. I was writing them down as we went along, and I think he had a lot of predictions where he was spot on. He predicted Nebraska, he predicted Arkansas.

Milton Marquis

He went out on a limb on that one, didn’t he?

Lori Kalani

Yeah, right. I mean, that’s what I said. They’re still predictions, but yeah, he likes those solid predictions. He also predicted that whoever won the Maryland Democratic primary would win the general. I mean, come on, Bernie, you got to go out on a little further limb than that, but that was one of his predictions. Here’s one where he was wrong. He predicted 14 incumbent AGs running for reelection would win. And one of those was Tom Miller, who obviously, as we just said, lost that race. And he talked a lot about Georgia, Iowa and Nevada. Again, he was not right on Iowa. And he did say that Georgia and Nevada would be tight, and Georgia wasn’t as tight as I thought it would be. Obviously, there’ll be a runoff for the Senate race. But Chris Carr was reelected, and I think he won that race by a couple of points, if I’m not mistaken.

Milton Marquis

Yeah, yeah. As a native of Georgia, I think Biden’s approval ratings, which are terrible, I mean, much lower than the national average, dragged down the ticket. And Stacey Abrams, while she is a celebrity, I think that hurt her in Georgia, that you had all these outside people promoting her. And I think she ran a much less focused campaign this time than four years ago. Now political time is much different.

Jerry Kilgore

Well, I would say about Georgia that those candidates that Trump opposed in the primary, the governor, the secretary of state and the attorney general all won their primary and then all won significantly on election day, because independents were voting for them. Whereas your Senate candidate, Herschel Walker, endorsed by Trump, is struggling, struggled still.

Mira Baylson

Yeah. You can’t ignore the fact that those are some of the only elected Republicans who in 2020 really pushed back against President Trump’s desire to portray that the election was unfair or in some way rigged. I bet they didn’t just get independents. I bet they got some Democrats for that too.

Milton Marquis

Well, I think that’s right. There’s no party registration in Georgia, so you can go in and in a primary and pick up whatever ballot that you want. Certainly, a lot of Democrats participated in the Republican primary for governor and attorney general, secretary of state. And that they won those primaries by 50 percentage points. The governor, Chris, I mean, Attorney General Carr and Raffensperger. So I think they gave them a lot of momentum to go into the general as principled people that we certainly know AG Carr to be. Very principled person. Very strong person. Good name ID. Ran a very strong campaign.

Paul Connell

Milton, what degree do you think it would … Kind of a two-part question. The governor down there has seemingly done a very good job with the state’s economy. And then, also, you have this … Stacey Abrams seemed to have been in a perpetual campaign for four years and sort of the “worn out your welcome”. She, herself, made … I won’t call her an election denier from four years ago but she called into question for four years, basically, that the election was stolen from her. And I just wonder if that didn’t … eventually there was a sort of backfire against all of that and that really helped Chris Carr in the AG race because Governor Kemp prevailed by six or seven points.

Milton Marquis

Well, I think the dynamics are as you said. And it didn’t help her that the federal court decision came a couple weeks before the election, the lawsuit that she had filed about the election four years ago. So no, I agree with all of that. Georgia is a probably 51/49 Republican/Democrat state. It’s been trending more democratic because the Atlanta suburbs have become more blue and immigrants and all of that stuff. But if you’re pro-business candidate in Georgia, you will do well because the state is about growth and about business. As a native of Georgia, Georgia and Alabama were kind of equivalent when I was growing up but Atlanta blew up and Georgia focused its attention of business as opposed to things that Alabama was concerned about. I hope General Marshall doesn’t take offense of what I’m saying here. I’m getting myself in trouble. Governor Kemp is all about business and General Carr was the economic development secretary before he was appointed acting AG and then was elected in his own right now twice. That’s what he focused on. He focused on crime and focused on making Georgia a place for business. Just look at … I think they’ve got battery plants. Just look at the amount of economic development in that state in the last six years or so. And that did not go unnoticed by the voting population.

Lori Kalani

Milton, you mentioned Steve Marshall in Alabama and what we failed to do was send out a huge congratulations to all of the incumbents that won.

Milton Marquis

Yes.

Lori Kalani

I love when incumbents win because I don’t have to get to know a new person all over again. I love them for other reasons but really happy, and we were talking about all the states where we reside or where we’re from and so I would lose the opportunity to talk about Ashley Moody if I don’t say it now because I will forget. I am here in Florida and really proud of the race she was running. Some of the commercials were really, I thought, great commercials that didn’t go into any campaign rhetoric. There were sheriffs and law enforcement on there to the point about these offices don’t really have criminal jurisdiction but nonetheless, they were really showing and speaking about their support for her. I think she ran a great campaign and obviously had a big win. And I’m always amazed at how quickly the numbers come rolling in for Florida. We know pretty darn soon here in Florida and Florida, overall, had a big red wave, I guess you could say, if there was any red wave at all. I think Florida did very well. But regardless of a red wave, she has worked really hard and we’re glad that we’ll get to work with her for the next four years. Same goes for Kwame Raoul and Tish James and several others, Dana Nessel, if any of you are listening, congratulations. Paul, you were going to say something?

Paul Connell

I was going to say you need to point this out, that Ashley Moody got more raw votes than Ron DeSantis.

Lori Kalani

You see, Paul, I just don’t know those sorts of things. I only have so much brain power, so thank you very much for bringing that up. I should have known that.

Paul Connell

Well, Governor DeSantis has gotten a lot of press in the last two days and I think it’s amazing. It speaks to the job AG Moody has done and what a great team she put around herself four years ago, that not only did she win going away, she won by about 20 points as well, but more voters bothered to fill in the bubble for her than Ron DeSantis in the state of Florida and that, as they say, is not nothing.

Lori Kalani

Wow.

Mira Baylson

That’s for sure.

Lori Kalani

Yeah.

Lori Kalani

I’m glad you told me. Go ahead, Milton?

Milton Marquis

No, I was just going to say she won big four years ago and the governor’s race was close four years ago, so she has certainly done a great job of pulling together a good team, good message, good person. Yeah, I agree wholeheartedly.

Lori Kalani

Yeah. And one race where there was a lot of talk about it being close was Colorado and we’re thrilled that Phil Weiser had a great night, won that election handily. I think it was 11 points. Connecticut, our friend Kathy Jennings in Delaware, these are really some great people and they’ve been great to work with and I think doing their job, being the enforcers that they are, but being fair and open-minded and resolution-based has really been my experience with those offices. New Mexico, looking forward to looking with Raul Torres, who I think came out of nowhere in the primary. He was not favored to win and walked away with the nomination. He’s the former … well, soon to be, maybe … the former DA. He’s mentioned that he’s going to really take a hard look at that office. In the past, that office has used a lot of outside counsel, which we on this podcast have talked a lot about, and we don’t like it, right? We would prefer to just deal directly with the AGs and we are hoping that that office sees some changes there with respect to outside counsel. So, looking forward to working with New Mexico. I’m just looking at my list. Ohio, Dave Yost. Great win there. I’m probably missing some people but …

Mira Baylson

California, AG Bonta.

Lori Kalani

Oh, how could I forget AG Bonta? Yes. I had no doubt, I don’t think anyone else did, but really excited to continue to work with him in that office. I feel like sometimes the first few years in office they’re just getting their feet on the ground, right? These are big operations, big law firms to run, and so I really … I enjoy the second term and third term for those that choose to stay. Everybody’s more familiar with the clients and one another, so really excited about all these incumbents coming back. Is there anything we’ve missed on recapping here?

Paul Connell

Lori, one thing. Alan Wilson, re-elected, I think this was his fourth time. That, as I look at the list and think about who’s in … I think that makes him, having now … I think he replaces Tom Miller …as the dean of AGs around the country.

Lori Kalani

Wow. And he’s a young guy. I think when I get off this podcast I’ll call him and tell him he is now the longest serving attorney general in the country and quite a young guy, so … Yeah, he didn’t even have an opponent. Yeah. That says a lot, so, good for Alan.

Jerry Kilgore

I think one takeaway as we would all like for every state’s counting process to go as quickly as Florida. That would make all of our nights so much easier.

Lori Kalani

That’s right. We’d have our AP widget rolling in those results and we could all go to bed by … call it 1 or 2am and know …

Jerry Kilgore

Within two hours of every poll closing we’d know the results.

Mira Baylson

It’s a real testament to Florida … Because it’s making me think back to 2000 with the hanging chads and the fact that that’s all ancient history, really.

Lori Kalani

Right. That’s exactly right. Yeah. I think Florida does a great job. And Nevada where … I grew up in Las Vegas, I won’t say what I think about their voting and their counting votes, but look forward to those results and also Arizona.

Jerry Kilgore

We feel like Arizona’s 2020 all over again.

Jerry Kilgore

It’s the same thing.

Lori Kalani

Yeah, exactly. And they need to make some changes there. So, more to come on that. With that, I want to thank all of you for taking the time to get on this podcast with me. Loved talking to you. Glad the election’s over. Glad I have you as partners to ingest all of your wisdom as we’re from all around the country. It’s perfect. Jerry didn’t need to talk about Virginia this call. And we’re see our listeners or talk to our listeners again soon. Thanks, everyone, for joining. You’ve been listening to a special post-election edition of the State AG Pulse, brought to you by Cozen O’Connor State AG Group. We’re pleased to announce that we’ll be launching a new season of State AG Pulse next January. We’ll be doing a deep dive on issues both state AGs and businesses care about and introducing you to some of the new AGs across the country. Please join us for our new season. The first episode will drop on January 9th of 2023. Our first AG interview for the new year will be with AG Miyares, who took office in Virginia last January. We hope you’ll tune in wherever you get your podcasts.

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