Unnaturally Political

GOP AG Candidates Making Headway

Republican candidates for attorney general are making strides in races once thought to be safer for Democrats according to an analysis of all 31 AG races this year currently on Governing magazine’s website.

The AG races in Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and New York have all been tightening — it is good news in each case for the Republican candidates.

Colorado has shifted from “Tossup” to “Lean Republican.”

Recent polling has Republican Cynthia Coffman, the chief deputy attorney general, leading Democratic former Adams County District Attorney Don Quick, 40 percent to 30 percent, with 24 percent of the electorate undecided. Democrats have been on the defensive in Colorado this cycle — Gov. John Hickenlooper and Sen. Mark Udall are vulnerable — and that lean is showing up in down-ballot races.

New Mexico has moved from “Lean Democrat” to “Tossup.”

Democratic state auditor Hector Balderas is facing Republican former prosecutor and district judge Susan Riedel. Balderas has a sizable money advantage, but Reidel has a solid reputation and may get a bump from GOP Gov. Susana Martinez, who’s coasting to a second term this year.

Nevada has moved from “Likely Democrat” to “Lean Democrat.”

Secretary of State Ross Miller, the son of a former governor and a mixed-martial-arts athlete, is favored to keep the AG seat in Democratic hands. Still, his opponent, Republican Adam Laxalt, began as a little-known Las Vegas lawyer with an intriguing ancestry and resume — he’s the grandson of onetime Nevada governor and U.S. Sen. Paul Laxalt, the illegitimate son of former U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, a former aide to John Bolton, a top conservative figure on foreign policy, and a Navy vet who served in the Iraq War. Support from national GOP players have helped push this race into the competitive column, but Miller’s name identification and reputation suggest he’s still got the edge.

And New York, while the least competitive of the three, is no longer considered a “Safe Democratic” seat, but now only “Likely Democratic.”

The AG race has become New York’s most competitive statewide race this cycle, partly because the incumbent, Schneiderman, is still relatively unknown, despite serving a term in a post that in recent years has been occupied by political giants — and future governors — Eliot Spitzer and Andrew Cuomo. Republican John Cahill is a credible candidate who claims that internal polls show him just seven points behind in this solidly Democratic state. Public polls show a much wider race — about 20 points — but as a precaution we’re moving this race to likely Democratic, particularly given low Democratic voter enthusiasm this cycle.

 

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