President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, both Harvard Law grads, are set to face off in their first debate Wednesday. But they aren't the only lawyers looking for votes this fall.
From coast to coast, dozens of J.D.s are seeking public office. While lawyers-turned-lawmakers aren't a new phenomenon, there's actually been a decline in lawyer-legislators in some states, as a recent article in Virginia Lawyers Weekly pointed out.
Of course, lawyer-candidates aren't just limited to legislative races. Judges and district attorneys are also up for election in many jurisdictions. Here are just a few notable races with lawyers on the ballot:
- Ted Cruz -- U.S. Senate, Texas: The 41-year-old Republican is a Harvard Law grad who clerked for Chief Justice William Rehnquist. The former Texas solicitor general is now a favorite of the Tea Party and is favored to win in November's election, The Wall Street Journal reports.
- Elizabeth Warren -- U.S. Senate, Massachusetts: Warren, a 63-year-old Democrat, is a Harvard Law professor who worked to establish the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She's faced recent controversies over her law license and claims of Native American ancestry -- which her opponent, incumbent Republican Sen. Scott Brown, has been using in attack ads. Brown, 53, got his J.D. from Boston College.
- Bridget Mary McCormack -- Michigan Supreme Court: A law professor at the University of Michigan and co-founder of the Michigan Innocence Clinic, McCormack, 46, got some former cast members of "The West Wing" to reunite for her campaign commercial. It helped that her actress sister, Mary McCormack, starred on the show for three seasons, The Washington Post reports.
- Jackie Lacey and Alan Jackson -- Los Angeles County District Attorney: Lacey, a Democrat, and Jackson, a Republican, are vying to head the DA's office in Los Angeles, the nation's most populous county with nearly 10 million residents. The candidates recently debated two hot issues in California: medical marijuana dispensaries and the state's "three strikes" law.
- John Stevens -- Tennessee State Senate: Stevens' campaign shows how a lawyer's record can be used against him. An estate-planning attorney, the Republican hopeful once tore up a dying widow's will while she was unconscious in a hospital, and was sued over that act, the Associated Press reports. The case was settled, but it's still being "cruelly" used for political gain, Stevens said.
- Pete Gallego -- U.S. Congress, Texas: Gallego, a 50-year-old former prosecutor who's been a state lawmaker since 1990, is now running for Congress. The race made history last weekend, as both Gallego and incumbent Rep. Francisco "Quico" Canseco, 63, took part in Texas' first congressional debate entirely in Spanish. In the district they're vying for, more than 50% of constituents speak a language other than English at home, the Los Angeles Times reports.
- Abdul Karim Hassan -- President: "Birthers" would likely have a field day with Hassan, if his campaign weren't such a long-shot. The Guyana-born New York labor lawyer has filed numerous lawsuits asserting the "natural-born" requirement for the presidency is unconstitutional, The Wall Street Journal reports. The Federal Elections Commission has held Hassan can run for president and collect campaign donations -- but he's not eligible to get federal matching funds, or to win the White House.
- Before Candidates Debate, Their Lawyers Do (The New York Times)
- Top Obama, Romney Donors Include Big, National Law Firms (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)
- Mitt Romney has a JD/MBA. Should You? (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)
- Your Politics Matter if You Want to Become a Federal Judge (FindLaw's Strategist)