Texas Attorney General
|Attorney General of Texas|
|Term length||Four years, no term limits|
|Inaugural holder||Volney E. Howard
The Office of the Attorney General was first established by executive ordinance of the Republic of Texas government in 1836. The attorneys general of the Republic of Texas and the first four attorneys general under the 1845 state constitution were appointed by the governor. The office was made elective in 1850 by constitutional amendment.
The attorney general is elected to a four-year term. The current 49th attorney general of Texas is Greg Abbott (Republican), in office since December 2, 2002. Abbott was re-elected in 2006 and 2010 and as of July 18, 2012, he is the longest-serving Attorney General in Texas history and by the end of his third term, Abbott will have served about 12 years in office.
In 2013, Abbott announced he would not seek reelection and would run for Governor. There are currently 6 candidates for the November election: Ken Paxton and Dan Branch (facing a run-off for the Republican nomination), Sam Houston, Tom Glass and Jamie Balagia (facing a run-off for the Libertarian nomination), and Jamar Osborne. Run-off elections will be held May 27.
Duties and responsibilities
The attorney general is charged by the state constitution to defend the laws and constitution of Texas, represent the state in litigation, and approve public bond issues. There are nearly 2,000 references to the Office of the Attorney General in state laws.
To fulfill these responsibilities, the Office of the Attorney General serves as legal counsel to all boards and agencies of state government, issues legal opinions when requested by the governor, heads of state agencies and other officials and commissions, and defends challenges to state laws and suits against both state agencies and individual employees of the state. These duties include representing the Director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in appeals from criminal convictions in federal courts. The Office of the Attorney General, Law Enforcement Division employs a staff of sworn commissioned Texas peace officers (state police) that investigate public corruption, violent crime, human trafficking, money laundering, medicaid provider fraud, mortgage fraud, election violations, cybercrime, fugitives (apprehension), investigate other special classes of offenses, and conduct criminal investigations at the request of local prosecutors. In addition, the Law Enforcement Division is the state of Texas liaison to Interpol (International Criminal Police Organization) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). The office is also charged with proceedings to secure child support through its Child Support Division.
List of Texas Attorneys General
State of Texas
|Attorney General||Took office||Left office||Party|
|Volney E. Howard||February 21, 1846||May 7, 1846||Democrat|
|John W. Harris||May 7, 1846||October 31, 1849||Democrat|
|Henry P. Brewster||October 31, 1849||January 15, 1850|
|Andrew Jackson Hamilton||January 15, 1850||August 5, 1850||Democrat|
|Ebenezer Allen1||August 5, 1850||August 2, 1852|
|Thomas J. Jennings||August 2, 1852||August 4, 1856|
|James Willie[disambiguation needed]||August 4, 1856||August 2, 1858|
|Malcolm D. Graham||August 2, 1858||August 6, 1860||Democrat|
|George M. Flournoy||August 6, 1860||January 15, 1862||Democrat|
|Nathan G. Shelley||Democrat|
|Benjamin E. Tarver|
|William M. Walton||August 9, 1866||August 8, 1867||Democrat|
|Ezekiel B. Turner||Nov. 5, 1867||July 11, 1870||Independent|
|William Alexander||July 11, 1870||Jan. 27, 1874||Republican|
|George W. Clark||Jan. 27, 1874||Apr. 25, 1876||Democrat|
|Hannibal H. Boone||Apr. 25, 1876||Nov. 5, 1878||Democrat|
|George McCormick||Nov. 5, 1878||Nov. 2, 1880|
|James H. McLeary||Nov. 2, 1880||Nov. 7, 1882||Democrat|
|John D. Templeton||Nov. 7, 1882||Nov. 2, 1886||Democrat|
|James S. Hogg||Nov. 2, 1886||Nov. 4, 1890||Democrat|
|Charles A. Culberson||Nov. 4, 1890||Nov. 8, 1894||Democrat|
|Martin M. Crane||Nov. 6, 1894||Nov. 8, 1898||Democrat|
|Thomas S. Smith||Nov. 8, 1898||March 15, 1901||Democrat|
|Charles K. Bell||March 15, 1901||1904||Democrat|
|Robert V. Davidson||1904||January 1, 1910||Democrat|
|Jewel P. Lightfoot||January 1, 1910||August 31, 1912||Democrat|
|James D. Walthall||September 1, 1912||January 1, 1913||Democrat|
|B. F. Looney||January 1, 1913||January 1919||Democrat|
|Calvin M. Cureton||January 1919||December 1921||Democrat|
|Walter Angus Keeling||December 1921||January 1925||Democrat|
|Dan Moody||January 1925||January 1927||Democrat|
|Claude Pollard||January 1927||September 1929||Democrat|
|Robert L. Bobbitt2||September 1929||January 1931||Democrat|
|James Allred||January 1931||January 1935||Democrat|
|William McCraw||January 1935||January 1939||Democrat|
|Gerald Mann3||January 1939||January 1944||Democrat|
|Grover Sellers||January 1944||January 1947||Democrat|
|Price Daniel||January 1947||January 1953||Democrat|
|John Ben Shepperd||January 1953||January 1, 1957||Democrat|
|Will Wilson||January 1, 1957||January 15, 1963||Democrat|
|Waggoner Carr||January 15, 1963||January 1, 1967||Democrat|
|Crawford C. Martin||January 1, 1967||December 29, 1972||Democrat|
|John Hill||January 1, 1973||January 19, 1979||Democrat|
|Mark White||January 19, 1979||January 18, 1983||Democrat|
|Jim Mattox||January 18, 1983||January 15, 1991||Democrat|
|Dan Morales||January 15, 1991||January 13, 1999||Democrat|
|John Cornyn||January 13, 1999||December 2, 2002||Republican|
|Greg Abbott||December 2, 2002||present||Republican|
Many leading political figures in Texas history have served as attorney general, several of them using the office as a jumping off place to other offices in the state and national government. Attorneys general James S. Hogg, Charles A. Culberson, Dan Moody, James Allred, Price Daniel, and Mark White were elected governor. Culberson, Daniel, and John Cornyn were later elected to the United States Senate.
- First elected Attorney General
- "Contacting the Office of the Attorney General." Texas Attorney General. Accessed September 13, 2008.
- "STATE AGENCIES." State of Texas State Classification. Accessed September 13, 2008.
- Texas attorney general election, 2014, Ballotpedia.
- Duties & Responsibilities - Office of the Attorney General
- Attorney General from the Handbook of Texas Online
- Texas Attorney General
- Attorney General from the Handbook of Texas Online
- Texas Attorney General Opinions, hosted by the Portal to Texas History.