More than 30 states will hold attorney general elections this year, but the co-heads of the state AG practice at Cozen O’Connor are gearing up for major changes even before the primaries begin.
Cozen partners Lori Kalani and Bernie Nash launched a new web tool Tuesday, the State Attorney General election tracker, to help clients track this year’s elections and those coming up in the future. The duo said that with so many races this year, and primaries beginning next month, it’s more important than ever for clients to be thinking about how AGs affect their business.
“We think that 2018 may be one of the most important election years in recent history for corporate America,” Kalani said.
That’s not just because of the sheer number of elections, but also because of the high level of competition, even in states without an open seat, Kalani explained. Nash pointed to Alabama as an example, where incumbent Steve Marshall has only been on the job for a year and faces steep competition from fellow Republicans in the June primaries.
As for open-seat races, Kalani has her eyes on Ohio and Nevada. Both states have Republican AGs now, but Kalani said she wouldn’t rule out a change in party in the “swing states” yet. There’s also Illinois, where longtime Attorney General Lisa Madigan isn’t seeking re-election. Though Illinois is a blue state, Kalani said former Miss America and Republican candidate Erika Harold is one to watch.
Nash said clients should be following these races from the very beginning, so they have time to plan and adjust. In addition to anticipating possible changes in enforcement priorities, the lawyers said they’re keeping an eye on candidates’ broader goals.
AGs draft amicus briefs, make decisions about contracting and even propose their own legislative packages in many states. Kalani and Nash said areas to keep an eye on include health care policy, consumer protection and cybersecurity. Nash pointed out, for example, that at least six state AGs introduced legislation related to data breaches last year alone.
Following along with individual campaigns early on can help provide a clearer picture of where AGs as a whole are headed, Nash said, which is essential for large companies that operate across state lines.
“No matter where you’re situated, you should care—and sophisticated companies do care—about what’s going on in every state,” Nash said.