Key coverage in the race for Attorney General
Race profile: Drugs, health care and budgets
Montana Lowdown: Austin Knudsen
Montana Lowdown: Raph Graybill
MTN News debate: Attorney General
Fundraising and campaign spending
Contributions by zip code: Raph Graybill (D)
On the issues
What separates you from your primary opponents as your party’s best candidate to serve as Montana's attorney general?
As his chief legal counsel, Governor Bullock trusts me to fight for Montanans.
We beat the Trump administration in court, to keep dark money out of our elections. We protected public lands in a landmark ruling before the Supreme Court. We stood up to the tobacco industry and won, protecting Montana families. When big telecom companies tried to take away net neutrality, we stood up for Montanans’ privacy, and won. I proudly fought to defend public schools and our Montana Constitution at the U.S. Supreme Court. And I am working alongside Governor Bullock every day to protect Montanans and our economy as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19.
I’m proud to be endorsed by Gov. Schweitzer, Sen. Baucus, Montana Conservation Voters, and the Montana Federation of Public Employees, Montana’s largest union. And I’m the only candidate in this race who has not taken any corporate-linked PAC money. Our campaign is funded by real people, accountable only to the citizens of Montana.
Should the state incarcerate fewer people? If so, are there specific criminal justice reform measures you support?
It’s a mistake to measure the criminal justice system by the number of people we incarcerate. The better metric is how many Montanans we can get back on their feet and for whom we can end the cycle of involvement in the criminal justice system.
As attorney general, I’ll resist the knee-jerk impulse that favors incarceration as the default answer to social problems. I support reforms that allow non-violent, low-risk offenders to get the help and treatment they need, and continue working in our communities where possible. This means supporting jail diversion programs, drug and treatment courts, and other solutions that can reduce unnecessary incarceration. It also means investing in reentry programs to reduce recidivism.
Finally, no approach to reform is complete without taking seriously the disproportionate representation of Montana’s Native communities in our system, and the nexus between behavioral health, substance abuse, and criminal justice.
Do you believe abortion should be legal? If so, in which situations? If Montana passed an abortion ban, would you defend it from legal challenges?
The Montana Constitution unequivocally protects an individual’s right to make their own health care decisions, including a woman’s right to access abortion care services. I will vigorously defend this right against attacks by state legislators, the federal government, or anyone else.
I am committed to keeping abortion safe, legal, and accessible. I will also be a vocal advocate to ensure that all Montanans, particularly people of color, indigenous people, and rural Montanans, have access to evidence-based, responsible sexual health information, education, and contraception.
In this effort, it’s crucial to defend the Affordable Care Act from the current attack by Republican AGs seeking to gut the law. If they are successful, it would end the Medicaid expansion program that provides affordable health care to nearly 100,000 Montanans and access to reproductive care for women and men. I will personally litigate to oppose this effort.
Current Attorney General Tim Fox has initiated litigation against pharmaceutical companies that have distributed opioids in Montana. Do you support that action?
Yes. It was a big deal that Montana decided to take this fight to court. This kind of stand-up advocacy should be the norm from the AG, not the exception.
This kind of advocacy is what makes the AG’s role so important. The AG is a counterbalance to the structural advantages wealthy special interests have carved out in the legal system.
We have laws against deceptive business practices, price gouging on prescription drugs, violations of our privacy, and schemes by banks and insurance companies to take advantage of us. But they mean nothing without an AG willing to enforce them. Too often, our current attorney general hasn’t stood up for Montanans in these important fights.
I’ll make enforcement of our consumer protection and privacy laws a top priority. Montana will lead again, with innovative, made-in-Montana cases that keep pace with the special interests that dominate our legal system. We just need a commitment by the AG to put people first and take these fights to court.
As the attorney general, you would be one of five seats on the Montana Land Board, which manages state trust lands. What priorities would you advocate for in that role?
Like Governor Bullock, I believe that our public lands are not just an important part of our heritage, but a great equalizer and our birthright.
I’ve taken direct action to protect public lands in our state. When members of the Land Board tried to hamstring the Habitat Montana program and public access, Governor Bullock trusted me to lead the case to stop it. We secured a landmark win in the Supreme Court for public land and public access that protects tens of thousands of acres in Montana, forever.
As a member of the Land Board, I will always defend Montanans’ access to public lands, hold other elected members of the Land Board accountable, and ensure our natural resources and state trust lands are protected. If the Land Board is totally dominated by one party, and we don’t have an AG who will exercise independent judgment, we’ll see more political roadblocks to public access, and our natural resources could be auctioned off at basement prices to wealthy special interests.
Stay tuned for more
We'll be updating this page with new information through Election Day in November 2020.
Have ideas about additional coverage that would be helpful as you consider your vote? Tell us at email@example.com.