In the sights of the Law Enforcement Alliance of America

The nonprofit Law Enforcement Alliance of America’s aggressive campaigning has helped knock out 12 candidates from 15 state-level races in 14 years. The group also attacked four congressional candidates starting in the 1990s.

  • A. Donald McEachin
    Virginia attorney general race

    • TV ads attacked McEachin, then a Democratic legislator in the House of Delegates, as being soft on crime when it came to “sexually violent predators” and “drug kingpins.” He lost.
    • Current status: Virginia state senator
  • Kate Ford Elliott
    Pennsylvania Supreme Court race

    • TV ads painted Ford Elliott, a Democrat, as soft on crime. The ads cost at least $300,000. She lost the race, giving Republicans control of the state supreme court.
    • Current status: president judge emeritus at the Pennsylvania Superior Court
  • David Adkins
    Kansas attorney general race

    • The LEAA spent an estimated $250,000 on ads attacking Adkins, then a state senator, in the Republican primary. Adkins lost.
    • Current status: executive director/CEO of the Council of State Governments
  • Kirk Watson
    Texas attorney general race

    • TV ads said the Democrat "made millions suing doctors, hospitals and small businesses, hurting families and driving up the cost of healthcare." The LEAA spent more than $1 million, Watson claimed in a lawsuit he filed. Watson lost to now-Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican.
    • Current status: Texas state senator
  • Lisa Madigan
    Illinois attorney general race

    • The LEAA spent an estimated $1.3 million on TV ads attacking the Democrat and supporting her opponent. Yet she won anyway.
    • Current status: Illinois attorney general
  • Michael Madigan
    Illinois state representative race

    • TV ads attacked the House speaker over an FBI investigation into whether he abused public funds to help his daughter, Lisa Madigan, win her bid for attorney general. The Democrat won despite the attacks and was never charged with a crime.
    • Current status: speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives
  • Mike Head
    Texas state representative race

    • Postcards sent to residents in Head's district accused the Democrat of siding with "convicted baby killers and murderers." He lost, then, together with state Sen. Kirk Watson, sued the LEAA for campaign finance violations.
    • Current status: attorney
  • C.P. “Chuck” McRae
    Mississippi Supreme Court race

    • TV ads attacked McRae for voting to overturn a murder conviction. He lost the nonpartisan race. “That's been one of the biggest travesties around — that you can go behind an organization like this and put in hundreds of thousands of dollars and the people don't know who really is supporting that ad," McRae said.
    • Current status: attorney
  • John Hunt
    Nevada attorney general race

    • The Democrat lost his bid to now-Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican, after the Law Enforcement Alliance of America spent an undisclosed amount on TV ads attacking Hunt.
    • Current status: attorney
  • Jim Hood
    Mississippi attorney general race

    • The Law Enforcement Alliance of America spent an estimated $800,000 on ads attacking Hood. Yet the Democrat won. "If you attempted to try to identify anybody at the LEAA, if you tried to call the office, nobody ever answered the phone. It was always the answering machine," said Jonathan Compretta, who helped run Hood’s 2003 campaign.
    • Current status: Mississippi attorney general
  • Oliver Diaz
    Mississippi Supreme Court race

    • TV ads accused Diaz, an incumbent, of siding with a "baby killer" and a man who raped an elderly woman. Diaz, a former Republican lawmaker, lost the nonpartisan race. “Judges aren't, for the most part, seasoned politicians, and sometimes they're limited in their ability to respond,” Diaz said. “Therefore, they can put out some sort of horrible attack ad on any judges that they want and really influence an election with a fairly small amount of money in the grand scheme of things.”
    • Current status: attorney
  • David Leyton
    Michigan attorney general race

    • TV ads attacked Leyton, a prosecutor, for making plea deals with murderers and other violent criminals. The Democrat lost.
    • Current status: prosecutor in Genesee County, Michigan
  • Denise Langford Morris
    Michigan Supreme Court race

    • TV ads attacking Langford Morris cost the Law Enforcement Alliance of America an estimated $800,000 to air. The Democrat lost.
    • Current status: circuit court judge in Oakland County, Michigan
  • Richard “Flip” Phillips
    2012 Mississippi Supreme Court race

  • Tim Cullen
    Arkansas Supreme Court race

    • TV ads attacking Cullen and supporting his opponent cost at least $320,000 to air. He lost the nonpartisan race. “The core problem of it is it's anonymous. You typically don't know who's behind these things, so there's no accountability, and that's uniquely troubling in a judicial setting,” Cullen said.
    • Current status: attorney

Sources: TV station records, court filings, The Washington Post, The Austin American-Statesman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Chicago Tribune, Justice at Stake, Brennan Center for Justice.