Leslie Rutledge

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Leslie Rutledge
Leslie Rutledge (25475720912) (1).jpg
56th Attorney General of Arkansas
Assumed office
January 13, 2015
GovernorAsa Hutchinson
Preceded byDustin McDaniel
Personal details
Born (1976-06-09) June 9, 1976 (age 44)
Batesville, Arkansas, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Boyce Johnson
(m. 2015)
EducationUniversity of Arkansas (BA)
University of Arkansas at Little Rock (JD)

Leslie Carol Rutledge (born June 9, 1976) is an American lawyer and politician from the U.S. state of Arkansas. A member of the Republican Party, she is the 56th attorney general of Arkansas, a position Rutledge has held since January 13, 2015. She is the first Republican and woman to hold the position.

Early life and career[edit]

Rutledge is from Batesville in Independence County, Arkansas. She graduated from Southside High School, the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, and the William H. Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.[1] Rutledge began her legal career as law clerk to the Arkansas Court of Appeals Judge Josephine Hart, since associate justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court. She was appointed Deputy Counsel for Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and later served as Legal Counsel on Huckabee's 2008 presidential campaign. She has also been a deputy prosecuting attorney in Lonoke County and in subsequent service as attorney for the State of Arkansas's Division of Children and Family Services. She served as Deputy Counsel at the National Republican Congressional Committee before she was named counsel for the Republican National Committee. Prior to her election as attorney general, Rutledge founded and practiced law at The Rutledge Firm, PLLC.[citation needed]

Attorney General of Arkansas[edit]

Rutledge sought the Republican nomination for Attorney General of Arkansas in the 2014 election.[2] She faced fellow attorneys Patricia Nation[3] and David Sterling.[4] Rutledge finished with a plurality in the primary but finished with less than 50 percent of the vote. She hence faced second-place finisher David Sterling in a runoff election.[5] Nation endorsed Rutledge, and she defeated Sterling.[6]

In September 2014, County Clerk Larry Crane of Pulaski County canceled Rutledge's voter registration when he discovered that Rutledge had registered to vote in Washington, D.C.[7] She re-registered in Pulaski County.[8]

Notably, during the 2014 AETN Televised Debate, Leslie Rutledge compared smart phones to "the devil". https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lg5h1Av-RcQ

Rutledge defeated Democratic Party nominee Nate Steel, a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives, and Libertarian Party nominee Aaron Cash, in the general election.[9] She is the first Republican and woman thus far to have been elected Attorney General of Arkansas.[citation needed]

In 2016, Rutledge stated that she would appeal a ruling supporting LGBT anti-discrimination laws enacted in Fayetteville, Arkansas, that is in opposition to a state law prohibiting these ordinances.[10][11]

In July 2017, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton led a group of Republican Attorneys General from nine other states, including Rutledge, plus Idaho Governor Butch Otter, in threatening the Donald Trump administration that they would litigate if the president did not terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy that had been put into place by president Barack Obama. Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery subsequently reversed his position and withdrew his participation from the proposed suit on August 31. Slatery went further to urge passage of the DREAM Act.[12][13] The other Attorneys General who joined in making the threats against Trump included Steve Marshall of Alabama, Lawrence Wasden of Idaho, Derek Schmidt of Kansas, Jeff Landry of Louisiana, Doug Peterson of Nebraska, Alan Wilson of South Carolina, and Patrick Morrisey of West Virginia.[14]

In June 2017, Rutledge again rejected a proposed state constitutional amendment to legalize casino gambling in the state. She rejected the proposal by Barry Emigh of Hot Springs, writing that the proposed popular name and ballot title are "misleading and wholly deficient."[15]

Rutledge ran for re-election to the office of Attorney General in 2018 against Democratic nominee Mike Lee and Libertarian nominee Kerry Hicks. With 98% percent of precincts reporting, Rutledge led with 61.97% of the vote. Lee and Hicks received 35.25% and 2.78% of the vote, respectively.[16]

In 2019, Attorneys General from all 50 U.S. States including AG Rutledge, the District of Columbia, and all four U.S. territories were urged by NAAG to support a bill, the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (H.R. 1595), sponsored by U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), which would permit marijuana-related businesses in states and territories to use the banking system. The bill would facilitate collection of taxes levied on the $8.3 billion industry, reduce the danger of operating cash-only businesses and more effectively monitor the industry.[17]

Constituent outreach[edit]

Rutledge has hosted "Rutledge Roundtables" with constituents in all 75 Arkansas counties each year.[18] She has also established a Public Integrity Division, and held mobile offices annually in every county. Rutledge also founded a Military and Veterans Initiative and a Cooperative Disability Investigations program.[18]

Rutledge is a self-described defender of the Second Amendment, religious freedom, and pro-life values.[18]

Personal life[edit]

In 2013, Rutledge met Boyce Johnson, a farmer, at a convention for the American Farm Bureau Federation. Johnson graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1982 with a B.S. degree in agriculture. He formerly served as President of the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food, and Life Sciences Alumni Society board of directors.[19] The couple wed in December 2015.[20][21] In April 2018, Rutledge announced she was expecting her first child. In July 2018, Rutledge gave birth to a daughter. She was the first Arkansas constitutional officer to give birth while holding office.[22]

Electoral history[edit]

Arkansas Attorney General Republican Primary Election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Leslie Rutledge 79,347 47.21
Republican David Sterling 65,733 39.11
Republican Patricia Nation 22,986 13.68
Arkansas Attorney General Republican Primary Runoff Election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Leslie Rutledge 43,898 58.89
Republican David Sterling 30,643 41.11
Arkansas Attorney General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Leslie Rutledge 430,799 51.61
Democratic Nate Steel 360,680 43.21
Libertarian Aaron Cash 43,245 5.18

Arkansas Attorney General Election, 2018

Party Candidate Number of votes % of Votes
Republican Leslie Rutledge 549,668 61.97%
Democratic Mike Lee 315,099 35.25%
Libertarian Kerry Hicks 24,652 2.78%


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "William H. Bowen School of Law – University of Arkansas at Little Rock".
  2. ^ "Leslie Rutledge to make Republican run for attorney general". Arkansas Times. June 28, 2013. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  3. ^ "Tolbert: Nation Set To Announce For Attorney General". Talk Business Arkansas. January 30, 2014. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  4. ^ "David Sterling Makes Attorney General Race Official". Talk Business Arkansas. May 7, 2013. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  5. ^ "David Sterling, Leslie Rutledge Go to Runoff in Attorney General Race". Arkansas Business. May 21, 2014. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
  6. ^ "Runoff race gets nasty between GOP Attorney General candidates". The City Wire. June 2, 2014. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
  7. ^ "AG hopeful Rutledge not registered to vote in state, clerk says". Arkansas Online. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
  8. ^ "Leslie Rutledge finally registers to vote". Arkansas Times. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
  9. ^ Associated Press, news source (November 4, 2014). "Leslie Rutledge beats Nate Steel for Arkansas attorney general". Archived from the original on November 8, 2014. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
  10. ^ "Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge To Appeal Judge's Ruling Over LGBT Anti-Discrimination Ordinance". Lawyer Herald. Retrieved April 2, 2016.
  11. ^ The Associated Press (March 30, 2016). "Leslie Rutledge, Arkansas attorney general, seeks to block protections for gays and lesbians". Newsday. Retrieved April 2, 2016.
  12. ^ Tennessee’s attorney general: I’ve changed my mind, DACA is good, pass the DREAM Act, Vox.com, Dara Linddara, September 1, 2017. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  13. ^ Texas leads 10 states in urging Trump to end Obama-era immigration program, Texas Tribune, Julián Aguilar, June 29, 2017. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  14. ^ SPLC denounces letter from 10 Attorneys General seeking "cruel and heartless" repeal of DACA, Southern Poverty Law Center, June 30, 2017. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  15. ^ Casino Games Pro (June 15, 2017). "Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge Says "No" to Casino Ballot Proposal Again".
  16. ^ Wilson, Kristen (November 6, 2018). "Leslie Rutledge re-elected as Arkansas' attorney general". KATV. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  17. ^ http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/Meeting%20Attachments/490/2883/Exhibit%20E-6%20SAFE%20Banking%20Act%20Letter.pdf
  18. ^ a b c "Meet Leslie". Leslie Rutledge. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  19. ^ "Brantley, Max (July 7, 2015). "Attorney General Leslie Rutledge engaged to be married". Arkansas Times".
  20. ^ Citation error. See inline comment how to fix.[verification needed]
  21. ^ Citation error. See inline comment how to fix.[verification needed]
  22. ^ Brantley, Max (July 30, 2018). "Leslie Rutledge Announces Birth of Daughter". Arkansas Times. Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  23. ^ Wilson, Kristen (November 7, 2018). "Leslie Rutledge Re-Elected as Arkansas' Attorney General". KATV. Retrieved August 6, 2019.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Dustin McDaniel
Attorney General of Arkansas