MEMO: Attorneys General Races Heat Up in 2018, Races to Watch

To: Interested Parties

Fr:  Jess O’Connell, Democratic National Committee and Sean Rankin, Democratic Attorneys General Association

Date: December 1, 2017

Re: Attorneys General Races Heat Up in 2018, Races to Watch

Following an electric Election Night in Virginia and New Jersey—and the most expensive attorney general race in Virginia history— the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Attorney General Association are gearing up for the next fight: electing a new wave of Democratic attorneys general in 2018.

The outcome in November was further evidence that when we work together as a team, we win.  And when we win – we create opportunities to help hard-working families, expand economic opportunities for the middle class, and protect the progress our country made under President Obama. 

Democratic attorneys general are on the front lines of fighting back against the turbulent Trump administration, which is set on gutting the Affordable Care Act and rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, ripping children and families apart and expelling young people from the only home they ever known. The value and necessity of DAGA and the DNC working together has never been more important to the lives of Americans across the country.

In what were formerly $6 million races at most, the Virginia attorney general race topped out at around $19 million. Republican and right-wing funders have made the office of attorney general a key target, and we need to understand what is at stake in 2018: 35 attorney general seats, 32 of which are elected positions. That number includes 14 seats currently held by Democrats and 18 held by Republicans. The other three seats are appointed by the governor, elected by the state legislature, or selected by the state Supreme Court.  

In 2010, Democratic Attorneys General served in 32 states. As the numbers declined to a low of 22 in 2016, our attorneys general decided to restructure their committee. In 2016, DAGA moved its headquarters from Denver to Washington, D.C. and for the first time hired a full-time Executive Director, Sean Rankin and subsequently a full-time staff. Under Tom Perez’s leadership, the new DNC is working in partnership with DAGA to elect Democrats up and down the ticket and in races across the country, including attorneys general. 

Together DAGA and the DNC are using innovation, data, and communication to make a difference in the coordinated fight against the Trump Administration – and have scored substantive wins.