WSJ: Governors, Attorneys General Clash Amid Political Tensions

“The stakes are too high for us to leave winnable races on the table." 
—Scott Will, Executive Director, Republican Attorneys General Association

From the article:

Around the U.S., cross-party battles between governors and attorneys general are heating up in what some observers see as another sign of increasingly divisive national politics seeping into state offices.

In Louisiana, Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry filed a suit against the office of Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, accusing the governor of blocking funding for the state’s Justice Department.

Attorneys general serve as the chief legal officers in their states, with jobs that range from handling serious criminal prosecutions to running victim-compensation programs. The job—an elected position in 43 states—is often a launchpad for aspiring governors or other high-profile offices.

In 13 states, governors and attorneys general currently have different party affiliations.

The offices of state attorneys general are supposed to serve as a check on power, which has historically triggered fights and lawsuits with governors—including some battles within party lines. “The friction is there on purpose, it’s there in the Constitution,” said James Tierney, who directs the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School.

Each party has a political organization aimed at electing attorneys general, but these groups had a long-running pact not to campaign against incumbents.

That changed in March, when the Republican Attorneys General Association said it spent $250,000 on a GOP candidate in Virginia, where Democrat Mark Herring is in office and running for reelection this November.

“The stakes are too high for us to leave winnable races on the table,” said Scott Will, who runs the Republican group. The association “intends to continue growing our already record number of AGs in office across the United States,” he said.

Read the entire article here

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