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Republicans Forecast A Red Wave

In this week’s episode, hosts Bernie Nash and Jerry Kilgore talk with Pete Bisbee of the Republican Attorneys General Association about what RAGA is, how it recruits candidates, and how it raises money to fund races. They speculate on election winners and losers, which Democrats may be vulnerable, how many seats the Republicans hope to pick up in November, and where. Jerry challenges Pete to make his “Pete’s just crazy” prediction, and asks what it would take for the Republicans to play in California, Oregon and other historically “blue” states.

PRODUCED IN COLLABORATION WITH:

Chris Allen, Member, Executive Producer

Gianna Puccinelli, Associate

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

Elisabeth Hill Hodish, Policy Analyst

Legal Internet Solutions Incorporated

Transcript

Bernie Nash:

Welcome everyone. With me today is my partner and former attorney general of the great Commonwealth of Virginia, Jerry Kilgore.

Jerry Kilgore:

Great to be with you, Bernie.

Bernie Nash:

Thank you, Jerry. Before starting our podcast with Pete Bisbee, I thought I would update our audience on some relatively new developments in terms of likely AG open seats. Tennessee Attorney General Herb Slatery, serving an eight-year term as many of you know, had been appointed by the Tennessee Supreme Court, the only state in the union that appoints an AG in that manner. General Slatery has stated he is not going to seek a reappointment by the court. So that will mean there’ll be another new AG towards the end of this year. As well, Vermont Attorney General, TJ Donovan, elected by the citizens of the great state of Vermont, has announced that he will not be seeking reelection in November. So we’re going to have two additional AGs next year. Before we officially kick this off, Jerry, kudos to you on managing a very successful transition as head of the transition for newly elected Virginia attorney general, Jason Miyares. And double kudos on your son’s successful campaign managing, managing Jason’s campaign and overturning an incumbent, which is rare in the AG world. So double congratulations. So having said that, just a quick reprise of last week, we did a session on a single state, Arkansas with our partner, Paul Connell, who is an expert on all things AG as well. He was the former chief deputy AG of the great state of Wisconsin and true to my form, I did predict that Tim Griffin will overwhelmingly win the election and be the next attorney general of Arkansas. This podcast, it’s going to really be up to Pete, how many opportunities he gives me to make my predictions of who’s going to win and who’s going to lose. But having said that, it is my pleasure and our pleasure to introduce and welcome Pete Bisbee, Executive Director of the Republican Attorney’s General Association, as our guest for this podcast. Welcome, Pete.

Pete Bisbee:

Thank you, Bernie. Thank you, Jerry. Excited to join the program.

Bernie Nash:

Yeah, we are so happy and delighted that you are spending your precious time with us today, Pete. Pete has been ED, executive director of RAGA for a little over a year. Before that, he was executive director of RLDF, the Rule of Law Defense Fund, for about two and a half years or so. And for seven years before that, he rehearsed and practiced for his AG gig being the right hand man for Leonard Leo at the Federalist society. So on today’s broadcast, we’re going to talk about all things AG from a Republican perspective. We’re going to talk about RAGA and how RAGA fits into the AG ecosystem. We’ll discuss how RAGA, namely through Pete, recruits Republican AG candidates for AGs, how it raises its funds to fund those races, and anything else that’s going to come up. So we’re going to do all things RAGA. And at the end of the day, hopefully Pete will let us all know how many additional Republican seats Republican AGs will pick up in November. Pete, take it away.

Pete Bisbee:

Thank you, Bernie. Excited to join you guys and tell you a little bit more about what we’re getting into at RAGA. I’ll do a brief overview of just what the Republican Attorney’s General Association is. So RAGA is a political organization that works with Republican attorneys general and candidates running for attorney general as Republicans to get them elected. We caucus amongst all the conservative attorneys general and have a kind of tripartite organization similar to our counterparts on the left at the Democratic Attorneys General Association. In addition to RAGA, which is a 527, we also have two policy organizations that are within our orbit that help to educate and advocate with the AGs offices on different policy issues.

Jerry Kilgore:

Well, that’s great. My first love was politics. So I love having the opportunity to talk with you today and talk with you particularly about attorney general races since I served as attorney general, also chaired the RAGA for a year when I was state attorney general. So it’s exciting to talk about these races and talk about what you see in the future for the ’22 cycle. A lot has been said about the ’22 cycle. Is it going to be an anti-Biden year? What has Trump do to the ’22 cycle? So I like your thoughts on that. Is ’22 going to be about Biden or is it going to be about Trump, or both?

Pete Bisbee:

I think it’s about Biden. I think that Joe Biden and the Democrats in Washington have been the uniting factor amongst all Republicans, specifically the Republican AGs who have been on the front line pushing back against those national policies in the courts. And the track record of the Republican AGs and the frequency at which they have litigated the initiatives of the Biden administration has really been a new precedent. Joe Biden, and what’s coming out of the administration, has been a unifying effect and a catalyst. And when you look at the political aspects of that, this is what everyone is talking about on the news. This is what is moving people every day. And you’re seeing more and more state attorneys general on the news. They’ve involved themselves in everything from vaccine mandates to mask mandates, all sorts of different national issues, education-related issues. It’s much more than just your traditional energy policy, financial policy, things like that, which were well defined during the Obama days. The issues that we’re seeing the AGs engage on in 2021 and 2022 are very, very palatable and understandable to average Americans who are concerned about what their children are being taught in school, are concerned about the scope and size of government and what it can tell you to do. And that is I think, a set of issues that is going to be very, very successful this year in November.

Jerry Kilgore:

Do you see a red wave or red tsunami coming this fall or neither?

Pete Bisbee:

I think it could be. I’m a bit of a sailor myself, so a tsunami is very, very large and I don’t know if anyone’s ever seen a tsunami in politics. So I think it’s a very large red wave. And I think that there’s a lot of things that are going to take people for a surprise. You look at 2021 and how shocked everyone was, not at Virginia, but at New Jersey. Places that nobody will be looking at are going to potentially pop this cycle. And I think that the big lesson from 2021 was you can’t take your eye off the ball with a place like New Jersey. And so there are third tier states, which normally we would not pay attention to, that are going to be on the radar for the major political committees this year.

Bernie Nash:

Pete, before digging into the races and whether it’s a tsunami or just a hurricane, there are so many cases that are being filed as you alluded to, which get the Republican AGs the headlines because it’s real serious stuff. How is it decided among the AGs as to who’s going to take the lead and how are resources committed to it? I think our listeners would be interested in learning about the processes that lead to an AG taking a lead and another dozen or 20 or so joining that AG.

Pete Bisbee:

Well, I can offer you my perspective and I’ve had a front row seat to that since 2012 when I first started getting engaged with educating state attorneys general and their staff on big national policy issues that were affecting the course that they were taking with their offices. And I think that there’s two different areas in which things are decided. You have a staff level engagement. Many people know now that the staffs within the attorneys general offices are very, very good. These are the people who are filling out the federal judicial benches. Most of Trump’s judicial appointments had some sort of background in state law enforcement or state government: AGs offices, governors councils, legislative councils. This background, people who understood the legal issues affecting state and how that interplayed with the federal government, the federal courts really, I think, rose up during the Trump administration as a really huge crop of people who could drive for the conservative legal movement and fill those judicial spots. So the staff, I think, engage at a very, very high level but the attorneys general themselves, the decision makers, the final call in all of these offices have a unique forum that they engage with us specifically, with a lot of the other attorney general organizations. Because of this constant drumbeat of communication, there’s a pretty good understanding for who is interested in what issue, who wants to take the lead on certain issues. One that I often refer to that is recent is the vaccine mandate litigation. If you look at that and you look at the response from the attorneys general that was discussed amongst the group of Republican AGs very, very extensively over multiple weeks, which states were going to lead in which circuits, who was writing what. This is the kind of thing that these forums for AGs can be very, very helpful in, is providing some strategic input and also allowing for them to discuss how we’re going to tackle these big major issues.

Jerry Kilgore:

We’re not seeing a lot of filings in the Ninth Circuit, that’s for sure.

Pete Bisbee:

In my mind, I feel like there has been a plethora of good rulings across the country, because certainly the Ninth Circuit is better today than it was in 2017. That’s a lot to say. I think that it’s an interesting moment where you have very, very good judges out there at the federal level who are having these wonderful cases that are challenging big, big, constitutional issues. Issues about the structure, the size and the scope of the government that are perfect for what the conservatives and Republicans are hoping to see. So when I look at how the AGs interplay and the strategy that they put into the work that they’re doing with their litigation, I mean, it is momentous in my mind. This is the kind of stuff that is shaping how our government works. And that is a very, very powerful thing.

Bernie Nash:

Pete, before we pick winners and losers and get state specific, tell us a little bit about how RAGA raises money, how it recruits candidates and how much money you are anticipating spending in these November elections.

Pete Bisbee:

Yeah, RAGA, it’s pretty open how we raise money. Anyone can go look at who donates to us because it’s publicly disclosed. Individual support, both high dollar individuals, low dollar individuals, we have a lot of that. We have also a lot of corporate sponsors. You also see a lot of law firms who of course want to engage with state attorneys general, who have an interest in that legal practice in which the AGs are also participating in. And then there are many nonprofit organizations, specifically ones that work on legal policy issues, public interest litigation groups, and think tanks that engage on the educational side with different AG organizations, our policy partner organizations and others. With regards to the amount of money that RAGA will spend any year on political activity, it depends on a year-to-year basis, on the cycles. When you look at 2022, this year, 30 races in total, 14 in which we are going to have to defend our Republican AGs or their open seats that they’re leaving, and 16 in which we could go on the offensive. So this is a year, well, there will be tens of millions of dollars that are spent on AG races across the board.

Bernie Nash:

Will you hit 50 million this year?

Pete Bisbee:

50 million? RAGA has never done that in a year. So I would say, no. No AG group has hit 50 million on the political side.

Jerry Kilgore:

I was just going to say it’d be exciting to see how much money is raised, but also exciting to see how you spend those resources in these races, which is important to talk about today because I think all our listeners will want to hear your perspective on the races. Not only the open seats, the ones you’re going to defend, but some that you are targeting and in the open seat scenario, you’ve got a lot of blues or trending states. I mean I read into Arizona and some of the states that have been trending a little further to the left that you’re defending. So can you talk about some of the open seats for us so that we can get right into the heart of the conversation on the political side of this?

Pete Bisbee:

Yeah, absolutely. Very, very short list on the open seats. You guys, I think, mentioned that you were talking about Arkansas and that open seat last time you guys had this episode. So I agree with your prediction, Bernie. I think Tim Griffin is going to be the next attorney general in Arkansas. And I think he’s going to be phenomenal. His background as a Congressman, as a US Attorney, federal prosecutor, does not get any better than that. That really is the two biggest background points that are often looked for when you’re doing candidate recruitment. US Attorneys, not under Obama, but Trump, Bush for us. When you’re looking at someone who understands federal policy and how it affects states. Congressmen are very, very good at that. So we have a large group expanding group of congressmen who are becoming AGs. I think a long time ago, it was considered a step down to become a AG from being a congressman. It is not that way anymore. And think that we could set up a recruitment shop for RAGA outside the House and probably have a lot of success, grab some resumes.

Bernie Nash:

What are they going to be the toughest seats that you have to defend?

Pete Bisbee:

Well, one of these open seats. So Arizona, which is in addition to Arkansas, open. General Brnovich is running for Senate, term limited out. So six candidates running right now on the Republican side. A very, very late primary. One of the reasons why it’s going to be a hard state for us is because the primary is so late. It is in August. That is a long ways away. Many of the other primaries are within the next month and the end of May or early June. So that is a very, very long time away. And with such a crowded primary, it’s going to take a lot for an organization like RAGA to define whomever comes out of that, in addition to defining the Democratic candidate who is Chris Mays, who that has already been decided, there is no Democratic primary. They’re not wasting resources on that on their side. So I think that the Arizona AGs race is going to be one of the biggest.

Pete Bisbee:

So the other open seat that I’ll mention is Kansas. Governor or, well, can’t call him Governor yet, but General Schmidt is running for governor, looks to have a successful run at that. And there are three candidates running for his seat. You have Kris Kobach, the former secretary of state who’s run for several other high offices since his time as the secretary. In addition to former US Attorney or, well, Assistant US Attorney, he was in as a federal prosecutor and also worked on some war crimes related issues in Iraq, Tony Mattivi, a very, very, very interesting charismatic guy. And one of the big judicial leaders in the state, Kelly Warren, who’s the Senate Judiciary Committee Senator. So that is a tough primary; one that I think is going to garnish a lot of the attention as well to fill that seat. But unlike Arizona and Arkansas, you do not have a very, very competitive challenge in the general election. So Arizona has more of a challenge which means our six candidates that are running right now certainly have their work cut out for them.

Bernie Nash:

Well, a two part question regarding Kansas, which we’re on for a moment before going back. Part A, is RAGA backing any one of the three primary candidates? And then part B, do you think that Kris Kobach can actually win a general election?

Pete Bisbee:

So RAGA is not backing any candidate in the primary in any of these open seats. So we have our incumbency policy, which we stick to in states that an incumbent attorney general is facing a primary, we always back our incumbents. But in an open seat like that, we have not backed anybody. And that’s been our policy, not to get engaged, let that work itself out for itself and have RAGA be the entity that gets whomever comes out of that primary across the line. There’s a lot of folks within our membership that do get engaged in primaries. I know you guys are familiar with that. It’s certainly an emerging thing and these primaries are becoming more expensive but we will not take a position in those three states. And our events are open to all candidates that are running in those primaries. They have the opportunity to meet our AGs, meet our members, but we are not taking any positions.

Jerry Kilgore:

I saw some polling yesterday when I was at a conference on the Arizona Republican race. And everybody’s in single digits.

Pete Bisbee:

It’s everybody under 10. And I had seen some polling in which a candidate or two would pop up into the low teens and then like the more recent polling has leveled the playing field almost. So I think that is a very, very open race right now. One in which if you look at the campaign finance reports, you have a couple candidates that are raising seven figures on almost a quarterly basis. So people with some very, very big campaign coffers that they’ve been able to accumulate at the beginning of this year.

Jerry Kilgore:

So tell us who those candidates are. Who are the top fundraisers? Because that makes a difference in an AGs race.

Pete Bisbee:

Yeah. So Rodney Glassman is a former Democrat who’s running as a Republican. He ran for Senate against John McCain in his past. He’s run for several high profile seats. He has been a Republican since 2016. He has had some very, very solid fundraising numbers. Additionally, Don Grove from Carson’s Manufacturing, the former leader of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, has had some very, very good fundraising numbers. Justice Andy Gould, a former Arizona Supreme Court Justice also has had some very, very consistent solid fundraising. And then a newcomer into the race. Abraham Hamadeh posted a million dollar first quarter this year as well. So those are the four candidates that are really striking a chord with the donors in the state and have seven figure fundraising totals in full.

Jerry Kilgore:

So for our listeners, will there be a runoff or could someone be nominated with say 20% of the vote?

Pete Bisbee:

No. I mean, whoever gets the most is our winner. So if nobody gets out of the race then you could be looking at somebody getting 22% and being the candidate.

Bernie Nash:

What seats are you confident about flipping? And to the extent you’re not confident about some of the races that are going to be tight, which seats are you targeting and hoping to be able to take over?

Jerry Kilgore:

So if I could add one thing, the Midwest has always been your battleground, Pete. So are you going back to the Midwest or where’s RAGA headed to pick up seats?

Pete Bisbee:

The calendar, the list of states that are just out there this year necessitates the Midwest as being the place in which we go. That is primarily due to the fact that in 2018, during a Blue Wave, we lost many Republican held seats. You had Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, Colorado, all fall from being Republican AGs to Democrat AGs. So those states are just going to be back on the radar. There are other states in the Midwest that are now in play. If I had to say Bernie, what state I thought looked best, Iowa. Iowa is a state that RAGA has never played in. There’s an old incumbency rule that was in effect that prevented the political organizations from playing in races that weren’t true open seats. Tom Miller, the attorney general of Iowa who’s been there for a very long time benefited from that rule for many, many years. We look at Iowa as an almost 9, 10 point Republican lead in the state now. When we announced the candidate on the Republican side, some initial polling just after her announcement had her up five points over incumbent Tom Miller who’d been there for many, many decades. So Brenna Bird, our candidate out there, I think just is everything going for her. And I think that Iowa is a seat that we feel pretty good about, which is not one that is in that list of states from 2018 that are on the radar. When I look at who’s next, I think Wisconsin looks very good. I think that the environment is good. I think our candidates out there are very good. The two candidates running who have a primary, Adam Jarchow, a former legislator, Eric Toney, the Fond du Lac County District Attorney. These are great candidates that I think are going to be able to run fantastic campaigns and win that seat. So I also think that there are some vulnerabilities in a state like Wisconsin on issues related to crime that make it a good target for us. So Nevada is another state that we lost by just one of the slimmest margins. I remember going to bed on election night in 2018 and I was convinced that Wes Duncan had won and I woke up and he lost. I mean, that was a very, very close race.

Jerry Kilgore:

So you have several candidates in Nevada?

Pete Bisbee:

Just two. So we have two candidates. So we have Tisha Black, an attorney in Las Vegas involved in the state’s cannabis industry, and then Sigal Chattah, who’s a private practice attorney that handles a lot of constitutional litigation, successfully has litigated against a lot of the governor’s COVID orders in the state, and has been doing a lot of great litigation in that regard. That primary is hard to tell who’s going to win. I think Sigal has been in it longer. I think she’s fundraising for a while. She’s got a lot of great resources around her. I think that she has a great shot at it. We’ll see what happens. I think the big issue is the matchup with Aaron Ford, the current attorney general there. I think that’s a race that our counterparts in the left, DAGA, are very, very concerned with. One of their largest pre-books for television is in Nevada. I believe it’s over $3 million. That’s something that we keep track of on the political side. So I think that it’s a concern on their end. When you look at the other races, Adam Laxalt running for Senate, a race that’s surely going to garnish national attention. There is a lot of money that will be going there. I think it will be a strong Republican ticket. So Nevada is one that I think is going to be on everyone’s radar. Michigan as well. I think that in Michigan, it’s a little bit different just because there’s a convention process, not a traditional primary like these other states. So the candidate is already chosen in Michigan. It was probably the most heated nominating convention for the Republican party in Michigan for the attorney general seat in its history. Nothing like that have I seen and I’ve been involved in Michigan for decades. It’s my home state. But our candidate is a constitutional attorney, Matthew DePerno, who is famous in the state for handling the Antrim County litigation, which dealt with the Dominion voting machines in Antrim County, which is in Northwest Michigan, a rural area that had a very, very large shift in votes on election night from Biden. It was initially called for Biden then it went for Trump. And Matthew has led the litigation in the state on that. He’s a very close ally of president Trump because of that work and that has been a big factor in his ascension to the nominee.

Jerry Kilgore:

Does Trump help or hurt in Michigan?

Pete Bisbee:

Well, it certainly helped with the Republicans. So that’s something that, if you’re looking at within the party itself, look no further than Michigan. Donald Trump has a tremendous amount of influence in Republican politics.

Jerry Kilgore:

Well, we saw in Virginia that a governor’s race can also help your attorneys general story. So you’ve got big governors races in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Nevada. So how will those governor races affect the seats you’re trying to pick up or elsewhere?

Pete Bisbee:

It’s just like Virginia. It is going to be a big, big part of it. Everyone always talks about instances in which the attorneys general race has outperformed the gubernatorial ballot. And I think that if the quality of your gubernatorial candidate is not that good, there is still the opportunity, and I would say increasingly so, to define an attorney general candidate in a way that is broadly interested to people that might become disinterested with the governor’s race. I think especially nowadays, when you look at the role that AGs can play in providing a check on state government, certainly if we had a Republican attorney general here in Michigan, Governor Whitmer would have a much harder time implementing her COVID protections than she did over the last couple of years.

Jerry Kilgore:

I would say going back to 2018, it looks like you did outperform the governors candidates in all of those states, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Nevada, and barely lost some of those states, but maybe you’ll have a stronger governor’s candidate this time to help out.

Pete Bisbee:

It could, but I think that, the overperforming is real but I think that the support that a very, very good gubernatorial candidate brings to an AGs race is undeniable. I think that is a huge factor. So Michigan, Wisconsin, a lot is to be determined with regards to who the governor is going to be. It’s certainly more of an open race in Michigan that doesn’t have kind of clear outcome that I could make a prediction on. But I think that the issue set that the Midwest states are voting on, which is one that focuses on crime, focuses on business closures, focuses on school closures, the role that the government played, specifically attorneys general, in prosecuting against ordinary citizens who are operating businesses, defying shutdown orders, defying mask mandates. These are very, very popular issues that I think present an opportunity to really define an attorney general candidate in a way that could help that outperformance, but for a pragmatic person in the AG space and politics, you always want a really good governor’s candidate. You never want to have to play it the hard way.

Jerry Kilgore:

Right. Why don’t you give us a, well, Pete’s just crazy prediction here today. What states can you go into and play where folks may say that’s not a wise spending of money but you’re looking at the numbers there, you’re looking at something on the ground that shows you that you can make it closer or make a play for that state.

Pete Bisbee:

New Mexico, Minnesota. So those are two states that I think you’d think you were crazy if you said that a couple years ago. New Mexico, you have a very, very competitive Democratic primary to take Attorney General Balderas’ seat, and you do not have that on our side. So we only have one candidate, Jeremy Gay, a Marine JAG, small town attorney in New Mexico who is running, who has great support from the party and folks in state. I think that anytime you don’t have to waste resources in a primary and can just campaign longer, get more engagement, more nuance on the issues, more time fundraising, that political party is going to be at an advantage. So New Mexico is one of those states for us. Arizona is one of those states for the Democrats. Minnesota does have a primary in the Republican side. Like Michigan, it’s a convention with several candidates and it’s not totally clear who’s going to come out of that yet, but I think we’ll have a strong candidate in Minnesota that will provide a good foil to General Ellison. Minnesota, another state where the crime issue is going to be big. A lot of the same issues that you saw playing in Northern Virginia are going to play in the suburbs of Minneapolis. And I think that it potentially could be on our radar. The environment looks good. When we were looking at environmental polling last year in 2021, at times, Virginia and Minnesota looked very similar.

Bernie Nash:

Say one state you did not mention, and I’m not surprised you didn’t, but I’ve been reading some articles recently out in California, that the Republicans are kind of fielding some candidates for the California AG race.

Jerry Kilgore:

Bernie, that would be a wow. That’s an even crazier statement from Pete, but I’m anxious to hear it too.

Bernie Nash:

No, that’s why I wanted to hear it. Because I was shocked what I read in the media out there and I want Pete to ground me.

Pete Bisbee:

The reason when we’re jumping in my order, I would talk about probably two other states before I went to a state like California. But California has a phenomenal candidate, Nathan Hochman, I think has done a very, very good job. Recently got the endorsement of the California Republican Party. There is a libertarian candidate in the race as well, in addition to General Bonta. So I think that it’s going to come down to being Hochman as the candidate against Bonta for the seat and he’s a phenomenal candidate. There’s a reason why he’s getting national attention and getting on national news is because he understands the issues that are important to California. He understands the crime issue being paramount. He understands the desire to have law and order in the state. He’s endorsed by many Democrat district attorneys and sheriffs. He has bipartisan support from law enforcement in the state. And it’s also, I think, an effect of you like to look at things that you can’t have but wow, that would be really nice if we did have them.

Jerry Kilgore:

You were about to mention two other states. What are those states?

Pete Bisbee:

So Colorado is one that we lost in 2018, which has certainly shifted to become a Blue state. And we have a very, very good candidate and they’re running on the Republican side unopposed, came out of his convention. So John Kellner, he’s the district attorney for the largest judicial district in the state which is outside of Denver. He had a million dollar race to get that spot last time. So he’s used to running a very, very large campaign and Colorado is a state with significant interest in the AGs race. It’s always been an expensive race in Republican politics. So Colorado is one that I would not count out.

Bernie Nash:

Well, I would venture to say unless you raise your 50 million dollars, which you indicated it’s not highly likely, I suspect you’re not going to be putting too much money into California. But a final question before we say goodbye to our audience, Pete, I’ll give you a few seconds to think about the answer without getting into the name of any specific state, how many seats, not which seats, but how many additional Republican seats do you expect to pick up this November?

Jerry Kilgore:

You’re making it easy on him. I was going to make him name names but answer Bernie’s question. That would be easier.

Pete Bisbee:

I think the safe range that I can say is three to five would be my estimate for new Republican attorneys general, which would bring our number up to 30 at least. And this is really a course correction of kind of looking and going back to states in which we lost in 2018. So how many did we lose in 2018? Four. There’s certainly other states that are in play like Iowa.

Bernie Nash:

You can have the final question, Jerry.

Jerry Kilgore:

No, I was just going to… If you had one pick of one state you are absolutely confident of today, which state would that be?

Pete Bisbee:

Iowa.

Jerry Kilgore:

That’s what I figured you would say.

Pete Bisbee:

And then Wisconsin.

Jerry Kilgore:

And then Wisconsin. Close by Wisconsin, the Midwest strategy again.

Pete Bisbee:

Those are Republican states. Otherwise, as Bernie said, I need to find $50 million.

Jerry Kilgore:

So you can play in California, in Oregon and other states?

Pete Bisbee:

Everywhere.

Bernie Nash:

What are you actually expecting to raise for these races this year, if you’re willing to say, Pete?

Pete Bisbee:

So it’s hard to tell. And if you look at where we were in 2018, which was the last time we had this cycle, it was just under $25 million that RAGA raised. Like I said, all public information you can go look it up. We are on track to be, I would say, competitive with that this year. So it’s yet to tell but with a red wave on the horizon, I think that that will have a good effect on our fundraising ability and allow us to raise more money for these races and hopefully surpass our 2018 numbers, which I think we’re on track to do and be in a very, very good position to get a lot of folks elected.

Bernie Nash:

Well, Pete, this has been extraordinarily informative. You have been taped so the world will look back in November about your predictions and we will find out if you are as a good predictor as I am. I am going to refrain from predictions on this show. I’m going to contemplate everything you said and come up with something next time around. On behalf of Jerry and myself and the entire Cozen team, we look forward to our next episode discussing the state of New Mexico, which you alluded to today, Pete. We’re going to be discussing that on May the 23rd and my co-chair, Lori Kalani and my partner, Chris Allen and I will be doing a deep dive into New Mexico. Thank you all very much.

Bernie Nash:

You have been listening to the State AG Pulse, brought to you by Cozen O’Connor’s State AG group. Research for the podcast is provided by four of our crack associates, who I need to recognize for their hard work, Ryan Bottegal, Hannah Cornett, Gianna Puccinelli, and Keturah Taylor. And of course, our policy analyst and travelogue guru Elizabeth Hill Hodish. If you enjoyed this week’s episode, please leave a five star rating and review. Please tune in again next week and until then, bye bye.

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