Orrick’s 2022 State Attorney General Election Report

9 minute read | January.09.2023

It was a busy 2022 election year for state Attorneys General (AGs) with races in 31 of the 43 states with elected AGs, including the District of Columbia. The Orrick State Attorney General Team’s election results report provides a readout from the races in 2022, including the more competitive races (see elections preview report from September).

Leading up to the election, there were 27 Republican AGs and 24 Democratic AGs. This year, we witnessed elections in 14 states with Republican AGs and 17 states with Democratic AGs, a combined total of 31 states. As previously reported, the states that were “in play” (toss-up, lean Democratic, or lean Republican) included: Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Texas, and Wisconsin. Those 9 states had 6 Democratic and 3 Republican AGs among them. The only race which flipped control of an AG office was in Iowa, where Republican Brenna Bird defeated incumbent Democrat Tom Miller. The race in Arizona – where Republican AG Brnovich was term limited -- headed to an automatic recount.  On December 29, 2022, Judge Timothy Thomason confirmed that Democrat Kris Mayes won the race by a 280-vote margin.

In January 2023, 17 Democratic AGs and 14 Republican AGs have been or will be sworn in.  This includes new AGs in Missouri and Hawaii and an acting Attorney General in Pennsylvania, where AG Shapiro was elected Governor.  First Deputy Michelle Henry will begin serving as acting Attorney General on January 17, when Gov. Shapiro is sworn in.  In Missouri, AG Schmitt was elected to the U.S. Senate, and Gov. Parson has nominated Andrew Bailey to fill the AG seat.  Bailey was officially confirmed and sworn in as Missouri’s 44th attorney general on January 3.  Lastly, in Hawaii, Governor Green announced that health care executive Anne Lopez will succeed appointed AG Holly Shikada whose term expired in December 2022.

Following the outcome in Arizona and as a result of Pennsylvania’s First Deputy (a former Republican county district attorney) becoming the acting AG there, there will be 28 Republican AGs and 23 Democratic AGs (including Washington, D.C.) in 2023.

attorney general control map 2022

Alabama

Arizona

  • The AG race in Arizona headed to an automatic recount because former Maricopa County prosecutor Abraham Hamadeh (R) trailed Kris Mayes (D) by just 510 votes, or less than 0.03 percent.  On December 29, 2022, Judge Timothy Thomason confirmed that Kris Mayes won the race for attorney general by a 280-vote margin. Outgoing two-term Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) was term limited. Arizona’s AG race was one of the key races to watch in 2022.

Arkansas

  • Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin (R), who is also a former U.S. House Member and U.S. Attorney, defeated attorney and Little Rock Parks and Recreation Commission member Jesse Gibson (D) and write-in candidate Gerhard Langguth. Outgoing two-term Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (R) is term limited and was elected Lieutenant Governor this election cycle.

California

Colorado

  • First-term Attorney General Phil Weiser (D) defeated District Attorney John Kellner (R) and attorney William Robinson (L). Formerly a swing-state, Colorado’s AG and gubernatorial races were won by Democrats once again, cementing its blue state status.

Connecticut

Delaware

Florida

Georgia

  • First-term Attorney General Chris Carr (R) defeated State Senator Jen Jordan (D) and Martin Cowen (L). General Carr fended off a primary challenge after defeating Trump-backed Republican candidate John Gordon by 3-1. Georgia traditionally has leaned Republican but has recently become more of a toss-up state. Georgia’s AG race was one of the key races to watch in 2022.

Hawaii

  • On December 2, 2022, Governor Josh Green nominated health care executive Anne Lopez (D) as Hawaii’s next attorney general. Ms. Lopez succeeds AG Holly Shikada whose term expired in December 2022.

Idaho

  • Former U.S. Representative Raúl Labrador (R) defeated attorney Tom Arkoosh (D). Earlier this year, Labrador defeated five-term Attorney General Lawrence Wasden in the Republican primary.

Illinois

Iowa

Kansas

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

  • First-term Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) defeated attorney Matthew DePorno (R) and Joe McHugh (L). Michigan has for several election cycles been a toss-up state and the AG race was one of the key races to watch in 2022.

Minnesota

  • First-term Attorney General Keith Ellison (D) has been declared the winner over business attorney Jim Schultz (R). Although Minnesota traditionally leans Democratic, it has seen legislative chambers and statewide seats flip in midterm elections. This year, however, the Democrats maintained their majority in the State House and flipped the State Senate. Minnesota’s AG race was one of the key races to watch in 2022, and the margin is less than one percent with over 95% of votes counted.

Missouri

  • On November 23, 2022, Governor Parson announced that he is appointing his general counsel, Andrew Bailey, to become Missouri’s next Attorney General. Mr. Bailey officially took office on January 3, 2023 and will serve out the remaining two years of Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s term. General Schmitt was elected to the U.S. Senate in this past election cycle. Mr. Bailey has already indicated that he plans to run for a full four-year term in 2024.

Nebraska

  • State House Speaker Mike Hilgers (R) defeated Legal Marijuana Now Party candidate, Larry Bolinger (a Democratic candidate did not run for the seat). Outgoing two-term Attorney General Doug Peterson (R) did not seek re-election in 2022.

Nevada

  • First-term Attorney General Aaron Ford (D) defeated attorney Sigal Chattah (R) and John T. Kennedy (L). Nevada is typically a toss-up state and the AG race was one of the key races to watch in 2022.

New Mexico

New York

North Dakota

  • Interim Attorney General Drew Wrigley (R), a former U.S. Attorney and Lieutenant Governor, defeated attorney Timothy Lamb (D). Wrigley was nominated by Governor Burgum to serve out the remainder of the term of Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem (R), who unexpectedly passed away at the beginning of 2022.

Ohio

Oklahoma

  • Attorney and decorated Air Force Captain Gentner Drummond (R) defeated Army National Guard veteran Lynda Steele (L). Drummond successfully challenged outgoing Attorney General John O’Connor in the Republican primary. AG O’Connor was appointed by Governor Kevin Stitt in 2021, after former Attorney General Mike Hunter (R) resigned during his first term.

Pennsylvania

  • Pennsylvania AG Shapiro was elected Governor in November and, under the Commonwealth Attorneys Act, First Deputy Michelle Henry will begin serving as Attorney General on January 17, 2023, when Gov. Shapiro is sworn in; if she is nominated by Governor Shapiro to complete the remaining two years of his term, Ms. Henry would have to be confirmed by a two-thirds vote of the Republican-controlled State Senate. That seems possible, as Ms. Henry was a Republican county district attorney before being appointed First Deputy Attorney General by AG Shapiro. However, she could also serve out the remaining two years as acting Attorney General if she is not nominated and confirmed. Either way, a Pennsylvania attorney general who is completing a predecessor’s term traditionally does not seek election, so there would be an open race for the office in 2024.

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota

  • Former Attorney General and U.S. Attorney Marty J. Jackley (R) won after running unopposed in the general election. Outgoing Attorney General Mark Vargo (R) served out the remainder of the term of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg (R), who was impeached and removed from office on June 21, 2022.

Texas

Vermont

  • Charity Clark (D) defeated H. Brooke Paige (R). Clark served as Chief of Staff to former Attorney General T.J. Donovan (D), who stepped down on June 20, 2022, to pursue an opportunity in the private sector. Outgoing Attorney General Susanne R. Young (R) was appointed to complete the remainder of General Donovan’s term and did not seek election to the office.

Wisconsin

  • First-term Attorney General Josh Kaul (D) defeated Fond du Lac County District Attorney Eric Toney (R). Wisconsin is traditionally a toss-up state, and the AG race was one of the key races to watch in 2022.

Washington, D.C.

  • Brian Schwalb (D), partner-in-charge of Venable’s Washington, D.C. office won after running unopposed in the general election. Outgoing two-term Attorney General Karl Racine (D) did not seek re-election.