Mississippi: AG Jim Hood (D) — 2015 election
This 2015 race may be the most intriguing contest on this list, because it could end up being the last stand of an extremely rare figure — a statewide elected Democrat in the Deep South. Hood, elected three times with relative ease, faces a well-funded and well-connected former federal prosecutor Mike Hurst in the general election. Pro-Hurst attack ads have been designed to make Hood seem weak and possibly corrupt, as well as ineffective in securing adequate compensation for Mississippians affected by the BP oil spill. Hurst has also criticized Hood for moving his base of operations from Jackson to his home three hours north, and for not being aggressive enough in challenging “federal overreach” and rooting out public corruption. Hood has been able to bolster his reputation by portraying himself as an aggressive prosecutor. He used his office to fight Internet crimes against children and argues he’s someone who, despite his partisan affiliation, supports traditional Mississippi values. If Hood doesn’t fall this time, Hurst will be young enough to be a strong candidate for the AG spot when the incumbent retires.