Democratic AGs Face Tough Races As The GOP Challenges Them On Police Reform


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Arjun Singh Contributor
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  • Democratic state attorneys general are facing stiff challenges from GOP candidates across the country.
  • AG Keith Ellison is losing to political novice Jim Schultz by seven points in Minnesota, while candidates are tied in Wisconsin and Michigan.
  • Public safety has become a key issue in state AG races, as Republicans target their opponents for damage done during riots in 2020.

Several Democratic attorneys general are facing losses in their re-election campaigns for supporting efforts to reform police as crime becomes a top-of-mind concern for voters in next week’s election.

The biggest threat to Democrats is in Minnesota, where the state’s Attorney General Keith Ellison is now several points behind his Republican challenger, Jim Schultz, per Survey USA, which conducted the poll. When asked whom they would vote for, 49% of respondents chose Schultz compared to just 42% for Ellison, which is nearly double the 3.9% margin of error.

The seven-point lead for Schultz is nearly double the margin of error. Ellison has been attacked by Schultz over the state of law and order in Minneapolis, Minnesota’s largest city, which experienced rioting in 2020 following the murder of George Floyd, a black man, by former police officer and convicted criminal Derek Chauvin.

Following Floyd’s death, the Democratic-led Minneapolis City Council sought to abolish the city’s police department through a ballot proposition, which failed in 2021 after being rejected by 56% of all voters. Schultz called out Ellison for his “crazy anti-police ideology” during the candidates’ debate, though Ellison has claimed that he’s never supported defunding the police.

Schultz’s position in the polls mirrors other Republican candidates challenging incumbent Democratic Attorneys General. In Michigan, the incumbent Democrat Dana Nessel is statistically tied in polls against her Republican challenger, Matthew DePerno. (RELATED: Michigan AG Dana Nessel Calls For ‘A Drag Queen For Every School’ During Woke Conference)

Nessel holds a narrow lead of 1% over DePerno, with 8% of voters being undecided, per a poll conducted by the Glengariff Group for The Detroit News. Nessel has prioritized prosecutions of police officers in cases where they allegedly used excessive force, though her decision to not prosecute officers involved in a shooting in East Lansing led to a dispute with the City Council, which demanded that she file charges.

Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, the attorney general’s race between Democratic incumbent Josh Kaul and Republican Eric Toney is considered a “battleground” by Sabato’s Crystal Ball. The race between them has focused on public safety, as well, especially in relation to rioting in Kenosha in 2020, following the shooting of a wanted suspect, Jacob Blake, in Milwaukee.

“Josh Kaul has decided that [public safety] is not going to be his top priority,” said Eric Toney to PBS News, adding that “politics has been his top priority — and that’s why we need a prosecutor and not a politician as our top cop.”

Kaul’s response was that the Wisconsin attorney general takes a back-seat role in prosecutions and, defends the state in civil cases, such as those involving elections. “If you want a candidate who you can count on to protect democracy, I think my track record speaks for itself and my opponent’s track record speaks for itself in a very different way,” he told PBS.

The campaigns of Ellison, Schultz, Nessel, DePerno, Kaul and Toney didn’t respond to requests for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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