A state attorney general serves as their state’s chief law enforcement officer. While all 50 states have one, their roles and responsibilities vary.
Here are five things you may not know about the office of attorney general:
- As of February 2019, there are 25 Democratic state attorneys general and 24 Republicans. Hawaii Attorney General Clare E. Connors is officially nonpartisan and was appointed by a Democratic governor. It is one of two state executive offices with more Democratic officeholders than Republicans (the other is the office of controller).
- Attorneys general are directly elected in 43 states and are appointed in the others. In Alaska, Hawaii, New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Wyoming, the governor appoints the attorney general. In Tennessee, the attorney general is appointed by the state supreme court. In Maine, the attorney general is appointed by the legislature.
- Attorneys general serve four-year terms in 45 states. In Alaska and Wyoming, the attorney general does not have a defined term and serves at the governor’s pleasure. In Maine and Vermont, they have two-year terms. Tennessee’s attorney general is appointed to an eight-year term.
- The highest salary for a state attorney general is Tennessee’s $182,688, while the lowest is Colorado’s $80,000.
- Three states are holding elections for attorney general this year. Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear (D) and Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood (D) are running for governor, leaving their seats open. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) is running for re-election to a second term.