Alabama -- In the expensive, expensive, very expensive Supreme Court race, Republican Greg Shaw has defeated Democrat Deborah Bell Paseur by about a percentage point. From the AP: "The Shaw campaign claimed victory with a lead of more than 14,000 votes, while Paseur eyed a possible recount." Very much a business versus trial lawyers face-off.
West Virginia -- Incumbent Democratic Attorney General Darrell McGraw appears to have won a slim victory over Charleston attorney and former legislator Dan Greear. McGraw has contributed to West Virginia's terrible, anti-business legal climate -- see this Manhattan Institute "Trial Lawyers, Inc." update -- hiring highly compensated private lawyers to manage the state's lawsuits and then divvying up the proceeds of awards to his political allies. An expensive race featuring negative ads, but in that, hardly the exception. (More.)
Ohio -- Democratic state Treasurer Richard Cordray easily won a three-way contest for Ohio attorney general yesterday, taking 57 percent of the vote over Mike Crites, a former federal prosecutor. Cordray fills the remaining two-years of the term of Democrat Marc Dann, who had resigned in disgrace amid a sex and administrative nightmare scandal. From The Columbus Dispatch: "Cordray said his top priority will be fighting mortgage fraud. He will also work to strengthen enforcement of consumer-protection laws."
Ohio remains the only state left with a public nuisance suit against lead paint manufacturers, one filed by Dann and kept alive by the interim AG. The city of Columbus previously dropped its suit after the Rhode Island Supreme Court ruling in July. Perhaps Cordray's clear-cut victory gives him the political maneuvering room to drop the pointless, expensive and anti-economic-growth litigation. Respectfully suggested line of argument: "I intend to devote my energies to our most pressing problems, where we can do the most good."
UPDATE: We should note that in the case of West Virginia, Democratic Governor Joe Manchin was re-elected with a big margin. Manchin is a pro-growth governor who has been critical of the state's degraded legal climate, so his election offers continued hope for reform.
UPDATE, Texas: From the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, "If plaintiffs lawyers in Houston are a little groggy this morning from too much partying, please forgive them. They've got much to cheer about: Last night, Houston trial courts underwent a massive face lift, as 22 Democratic judges swept into office." Big picture: "Democrats won 22 of the 26 district-court races in Harris County (Houston). In Dallas County, which also used to be a GOP bastion before a partisan shift in 2006, Democrats won all six district-court races."