Jun 22, 2022 - News

Brian Schwalb wins Democratic nomination for D.C. attorney general

Brian Schwalb
Photo: Courtesy of Brian Schwalb campaign

Brian Schwalb prevailed in a three-man Democratic primary race for D.C. attorney general on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Schwalb is on track to succeed Karl Racine, who served two terms as the city’s first elected attorney general and built out a 600-person law department that took on Donald Trump, Big Tech, and other high-profile targets, and elevated D.C.'s profile nationally.

  • Schwalb had received 46% of the vote reported as of 11:44pm, according to the D.C. Board of Elections, while Bruce Spiva stood at nearly 36%. Ryan Jones had received close to 18%.
  • Racine had endorsed Schwalb and campaigned with him on Election Day.

What they’re saying: “Now, we will step forward to do the work that needs to be done. Because people are counting on us,” Schwalb said in a tweet. In the deeply blue city, the Democratic nomination is tantamount to victory.

Schwalb was most recently a partner at Venable, Racine’s former firm.

Flashback: The AG’s race took a turn after Spiva succeeded in booting Ward 5 Council member Kenyan McDuffie off the ballot in April, opening up the field for the three lesser-known lawyers.

With little between Spiva and Schwalb — two former partners at D.C. firms and graduates of the same Harvard Law class — many voters and organizations were unsure who to back.

What’s next: Schwalb told Axios on the campaign trail that he will prioritize pursuing those who target homeowners. He cited predatory and discriminatory lending practices as a top barrier for Black and brown Washingtonians to building intergenerational wealth.

  • At times, Racine and Mayor Muriel Bowser had a heated relationship. Shortly after taking office, the two were at odds over the power and budget of the attorney general’s office, which Racine saw as co-equal to the mayor and D.C. Council. More recently, Racine declared he would not represent the D.C. Jail in a lawsuit over its conditions.
  • Schwalb has also said that he will continue to strengthen the independence of the AG’s office.
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