Three Michigan Attorney General candidates with wildly different visions


Michigan’s race for Attorney General features three dynamic candidates — from a firebrand progressive who promises to go after Trump policies, to a conservative legislator who has consistently praised Trump, to an Independent who vows to shake up the state’s two-party system.

Update: Here’s who has endorsed the 2018 Michigan Attorney General candidates

Three candidates with extensive legal backgrounds and vastly different approaches to public policy are defining this year’s race for Michigan Attorney General.

With the November general election closing in, the Democratic, Republican and Independent candidates spoke to Bridge Magazine about what they would bring to the state’s highest law-enforcement office. (Two others, Libertarian Lisa Lane Gioia and  Gerald T. Van Sickle of U.S. Taxpayers, also are on the ballot.)

Democratic candidate Dana Nessel highlighted her dedication to protecting the state’s most vulnerable and said fighting for clean air and water would  be her first priority. Nessel is a former prosecutor who is known for her work on a landmark case that found Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional and is the first openly gay person to run for statewide office in Michigan. She vows to litigate Trump administration policies in court.  

Related: Republicans outraise Democrats in bids for Michigan statewide offices

Republican Tom Leonard said he’d be a “rule-of-law” Attorney General dedicated to enforcing the state’s existing laws. He promised to expand state resources for mental health treatment courts and for prosecuting elder abuse cases. He is now Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives and has been an outspoken supporter of President Trump.

Independent candidate and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Graveline nearly missed the boat for November — he fell short of the necessary 30,000 signatures to make the ballot and sued state elections officials, claiming the number is unconstitutionally high. A U.S. District Judge agreed with him in August and put him on the ballot. Now, he’s hoping to convince Michigan voters that he offers political independence that would serve them the best in the Attorney General’s office.

Our Q-and-A’s with each of the candidates are linked to in the box above.

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Fri, 10/05/2018 - 12:26pm

Graveline is a competent, qualified candidate with a good background. Faced with a choice between Leonard and Nessel, the choice is easy--I'm voting for Graveline.

Fri, 10/05/2018 - 1:22pm

Vote for Nader, etc. and waste your vote and elect an idiot.

Sun, 10/07/2018 - 9:03pm

You mean we should vote for the guy who can't follow the published rules like everyone else had to?

Ben W. Washburn
Mon, 10/08/2018 - 12:41pm

Please read what Chris Graveline has to say. I've already placed my comments behind that story. I was head counsel to the Wayne County Commission for 25 years, and Graveline's posture on the office is right. It should not be a tool of either the Democratic nor Republican Parties. Frank Kelley set a standard that all State or local municipal attorneys should follow.

Cyndi Rose
Mon, 10/15/2018 - 7:47pm

Totally agree with Mr. Washburn. Mr. Graveline has my vote. It's time we have someone who will work for the people and not the "party." For the past few years, Republicans and Democrats are fighting so much against each other that they no longer hear the people who voted them into their office. Time for a change! Graveline is the best option for Michigan.

Lauren Sargent
Mon, 10/22/2018 - 9:31pm

I agree that Frank Kelly set the standard, and he has endorsed Dana Nessel.