2019, A Historic Year for RAGA

Kelly LacoNews

10 Highlights of RAGA’s Historic Year

2019 was a historic year for the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA). In addition to retaking the majority of attorneys general (AG) offices in the country, RAGA broke fundraising records and celebrated its 20th Anniversary in style. Read more about the top moments of 2019 below.

1. Jeff Landry Re-Elected Louisiana AG, Leads Southern Sweep of 2019 Elections

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry safely won re-election after trouncing his Democrat opponent by more than 33 points. AG Landry is a leader among his peers, having served as president of the bipartisan National Association of Attorneys General and leading numerous multi-state investigations and lawsuits to protect consumers and promote and defend the Constitution and rule of law. RAGA supported AG Landry’s campaign efforts through paid advertisements. AG Landry’s victory was the first of three in 2019 and set the stage for retaking the majority.

2. Daniel Cameron Battles Strong Headwinds in Kentucky and Becomes First Republican AG since 1948

Daniel Cameron was sworn in as Kentucky’s first African American attorney general on December 17, 2019. Cameron is also the first Republican to hold this office since 1948. Despite the Republican Kentucky Governor’s defeat on Election Day, AG Cameron overcame headwinds and beat his Democrat opponent by almost 16 points. RAGA’s nearly $7 million investment in Kentucky was more complex than just television ads or mail, and featured a highly targeted, data-driven approach which included RAGA’s first-ever field program. Cameron’s victory, as well as victories in Mississippi and Louisiana, make RAGA the only national political committee to secure a clean sweep of victories during the 2019 election.

3. Lynn Fitch Ends Democrat Dominance in Mississippi and Becomes First Republican AG since 1878

Lynn Fitch, Mississippi’s first female AG, was elected on November 5, 2019, beating her Democrat opponent by more than 15 points. Fitch, the former Mississippi Treasurer, is also the state’s first Republican attorney general since 1878. AG-Elect Fitch plans to focus her efforts on Mississippi’s opioid crisis, in addition to protecting veterans, the elderly, children and the mentally ill from scams and exploitation. RAGA supported Fitch’s campaign efforts through paid advertisements.

4. Defending the Constitution

Republican AGs are actively working with the Trump Administration to restore the rule of law and correct previous unconstitutional overreaches. In 2019, Republican AGs continued their fight against Obamacare in Texas v. Azar and realized a victory in Federal Court earlier this month. Across the country, legal battles are also being waged by Republican AGs against the unconstitutionality of California’s emissions standards, the Endangered Species Act, and the Equal Rights Amendment. From landmark investigations of Big Tech to the continued fight against overregulation and government overreach, Republican AGs are more united than ever in the fight for freedom.

5. Two Decades of Electing Rule of Law Attorneys General

On September 20, 2019, nearly 40 current and former attorneys general from across the nation gathered to celebrate RAGA’s 20th Anniversary. Special guests included former Texas Solicitor General and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and former Alabama Attorney General, U.S. Senator, and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as well as former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and former Alabama Attorney General and U.S. Senator Luther Strange.

Leonard Leo, Co-Chairman and Executive Vice President of The Federalist Society, was honored with a special award during the 20th Anniversary celebration. Leonard Leo has helped shape the trajectory of RAGA and the conservative legal movement more than anyone else. As RAGA’s greatest champion, Leonard Leo reimagined the role of the state attorney general and promoted men and women dedicated to the persistence of the rule of law and the original meaning of the Constitution.

6. The AG Farm Team Expands

The offices of state attorneys general have become a “Farm Team” nationally. Attorneys general and senior staff members have gone on to serve their country in other prestigious offices, both elected and appointed. The federal judiciary, federal agencies, U.S. Attorney offices, Congress, and governors’ offices across the country are filled with attorney general alumni.

In 2019, 15 AG alumni were confirmed to the federal judiciary by the U.S. Senate. In total, 26 of President Trump’s confirmed appointments to the federal judiciary worked in an attorneys general office and President Trump’s Supreme Court shortlist includes one of RAGA’s founding fathers as well as three former AG staff members.

7. RAGA Garners National News Coverage

Notable election victories in 2019, as well as the continued expansion of the AG Farm Team drew the attention of national news publications.

Fox News: “Republicans boost Trump’s judicial ‘farm team’ after AG elections, set sights on Bloomberg”

Townhall.com: “It Turns Out RAGA Is the Perfect Place to Find Judicial Nominees”

Wall Street Journal: “Daniel Cameron Overcame Racism to Make History in Kentucky”

8. Multi-State Milestones

Republican AGs continue to come together to protect the Constitution and preserve the rule of law. This year, RAGA’s policy arm, the Rule of Law Defense Fund (RLDF) saw an unprecedented amount of coordination between offices across the country. Republican AGs led comment letters on a wide range of federal regulations including the CFPB’s Small Dollar Rule, the EPA’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) and Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rules, and DOL’s Overtime Rule.

9. Preeminent Public Policy 

RAGA’s policy arm, the Rule of Law Defense Fund (RLDF), broke records of its own in 2019. Throughout the year, RLDF hosted 95 different policy panels, conversations, and working sessions on 119 different policy topics, made up of 175 panelists and speakers. Notable speakers included Senator Marco Rubio, former White House Counsel Don McGahn, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, and former Acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker.

10. New Leadership Takes the Helm

Republican attorneys general elected a new slate of leaders, led by Chairman Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and Vice-Chairman Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr. The 2020 leadership team will focus on defending five incumbent races and expanding the majority. These changes come after outgoing Chairman Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton led RAGA during 2019, a historic year where Republican candidates won all three AG races across the country, placing Republicans back in the majority.