2020 was another banner year for the Republican Attorneys General (AGs). In addition to keeping the majority, the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) was able to stay on offense politically, garnered more national media coverage than ever before, and safely led by example with multiple in-person events.
As 2021 arrives, Republican AGs will forge ahead as America’s last line of defense, focused on preserving, promoting, and protecting the rule of law in order to safeguard freedoms for future generations. Read more about the top moments of 2020 below.
1. RAGA Kept the Majority of AGs Nationwide
In 2019, RAGA retook the majority (26) of AGs nationwide. This year, despite headwinds, Republican AG candidates won by double digits in Montana, Utah, Missouri, Indiana, and West Virginia, RAGA maintained majority status and gave well-funded Democrat incumbents a run for their money in races which remained too-close-to-call after Election Day in North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
2. The Republican AGs Frequented Primetime
Over the last year, Republican AGs landed more than 400 positive national stories, making the AGs one of the most visible and influential groups of elected officials in the nation. From breaking Wall Street Journal exclusive stories, to securing hits on every single Fox News primetime show, to frequenting nationally syndicated radio programs, Republican AGs reached new levels of primetime coverage from January to December.
Watch a few clips of the biggest primetime hits featuring Republican attorneys general below:
3. Leading, Connecting, and Meeting by Example
No one could have predicted that a highlight of 2020 would have been in-person meetings and virtual programming when we hosted a record-setting Winter meeting in D.C. at the end of February. Despite the pandemic, Republican AGs participated in a record amount of in-person and virtual programming during 2020 hosted by RAGA and its policy arm. 2020 concluded with seven in-person events at seven different hotels, including safely programming two events with more than 200 people in two different states since August. Thousands of staff man-hours went into these in-person meetings, various Rule of Law Defense Fund (RLDF) forums, and “RAGA Refresh” calls to ensure members and AGs were able to stay connected and socially distanced.
Ultimately, the lemons of 2020 turned into lemonade. Republican AGs participated in over 174 different panels and working sessions involving over 200 speakersincluding 12 current and former Cabinet Secretaries, 2 Governors, 2 current and 2 former U.S. Senators, and 2 Heisman Trophy winners. Notable in-person event speakers included Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, and Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker.
4. The Republican AGs Led the Nation’s Most Robust Efforts to Defend the Constitution
The Republican AGs actively worked throughout the year to defend the rule of law. At the start of 2020, 21 Republican AGs led by South Carolina AG Alan Wilson filed the first-ever “friend of the Senate” letter outlining the legal flaws of the perilous partisan move by the Democrats to use the impeachment of President Trump as a political weapon. During the pandemic, the AGs did not back down from legal battles to protect the 1st Amendment rights of Americans. Kentucky AG Daniel Cameron led multiple lawsuits, joined by other Republican AGs, to protect religious freedom from being stifled by government amid the pandemic. In addition, a coalition of 21 AGs led by Georgia AG Chris Carr wrote a letter asking Congress to enact post-pandemic liability protections in order to restart America’s free enterprise system in a manner that ensures a stable legal and regulatory environment after the pandemic subsides and the economy reopens.
5. Republican AG Farm Team Continued to be Called Up
Throughout the Trump Administration, Republican AG offices became America’s “farm team,” sending over 50 AG office alumni to key posts from the West Wing to lifetime appointments on the federal bench. In total, 28 officials from state AG offices have been nominated and confirmed to circuit and district judgeships under President Trump’s leadership. In addition, President Trump’s Supreme Court shortlists included 13 current and former AGs and senior staff members.
Republican AG office alumni confirmed in 2020 to the federal bench include: Former Mississippi Solicitor General Kristi Johnson, confirmed to the Southern District of Mississippi, former Kansas Solicitor General Toby Crouse, confirmed to the District of Kansas, and former Alabama Solicitor General Andrew Brasher, confirmed to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
6. The Republican AGs Were First on the Frontlines Against the Pandemic
The Republican AGs worked diligently from the very beginning of the coronavirus pandemic to protect American consumers from price gouging, identifying and dismantling disaster scams, and safeguarding 1st Amendment rights amid pandemic restrictions. The AGs also teamed up with sports legends to create Public Service Announcements (PSAs). PSA partnerships included Georgia AG Chris Carr and football legend Herschel Walker, Florida AG Ashley Moody and Florida Gators legend Emmitt Smith, Mississippi AG Lynn Fitch and Mississippi legend and Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre, Louisiana AG Jeff Landry and Pelicans superstar Zion Williamson, and Kansas AG Eric Schmitt and Chiefs Super Bowl winning coach Andy Reid.
In addition, Missouri AG Eric Schmitt was the first in the nation to sue the communist state of China for its role in concealing the origins of the novel coronavirus. Mississippi AG Lynn Fitch quickly followed by filing another lawsuit holding China accountable for suppressing information about the outbreak of the virus.
Corporate citizenship during the pandemic has been incredible. RAGA’s corporate members stepped up to the plate and helped Americans remain connected digitally despite physical social distancing measures, assisted struggling small businesses with generous donations to save livelihoods and families, and were first to develop scientific breakthroughs, including an approved vaccine in record time.
7. Making a Blueprint for Groups Nationally to Meet Again
RAGA proved there are ways to socialize safely and at a distance, using well-spaced floor-plans, mandatory daily health screenings, temperature checks, and 24/7 on-site medical staff. RAGA safely conducted seven in-person events at seven different hotels in three states since the start of the pandemic with zero positive reports of coronavirus. Two of these events safely hosted more than 200 people in two different states.
In addition, more went into planning RAGA’s national Summer, ERC Retreat, and Fall meetings this year in Sea Island, Georgia, and Orlando, Florida, than any other events in RAGA’s history. Stringent health and safety precautions helped mitigate risk, precautions coupled with personal responsibility by conference attendees showed the nation that it is possible to safely assemble and re-open the economy amid the pandemic. RAGA’s Sea Island meeting was the first of any national political committee during the pandemic and showcases the reality that the nation’s physical and economic health can be protected, with the right safeguards in place, as our country moves towards safely reopening.
8. RAGA Set the Tone for Law and Order
Attorneys General are their states’ chief law enforcement officers. Republican AGs set the tone nationally for ensuring our communities remain the safest and freest places to live, work, and raise a family.RAGA was the only national committee to consistently warn about the dangerousness of the “defund the police” movement, providing an often-imitated archetype for other organizations and national campaigns. Our five-month Lawless Liberals campaign earned millions of impressions bookended by the fireworks of the Fourth of July and those of New Year’s eve. Throughout its video series, RAGA repeatedly emphasized that the Republican AGs are America’s strongest defenders of economic freedom, defending the nation from threats of socialism, chaos, and lawlessness.
9. Republican AGs Frequented the White House and Worked Closely with the Trump Administration on Key Priorities