Graybill becomes second Democrat in 2020 attorney general race

Posted at 4:47 PM, May 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-06 20:36:17-04

HELENA — Raph Graybill, the chief legal counsel for Gov. Steve Bullock, on Monday became the second Democrat to announce that he’s running for Montana attorney general in 2020.

Graybill, 30, said he’s running because he believes the attorney general should be more of an advocate for the average person on issues like the cost of prescription drugs and protecting privacy on the Internet.

“We’re told these are the types of things that we just have to live with in the modern world,” he told MTN News in an interview. “We don’t. These are precisely the types of issues that a state attorney general can and should do something about.”

Attorney general will be an open seat in 2020, because incumbent Attorney General Tim Fox, a Republican, cannot run for re-election, due to term limits. Fox is running for governor.

Democratic state Rep. Kim Dudik of Missoula announced late last year that she’s running for attorney general. The only Republican in the race so far is Jon Bennion, who is chief deputy attorney general under Fox.

Graybill was born and grew up in Great Falls. He earned his undergraduate degree from Columbia University in New York and his law degree from Yale University. He also has a master’s degree in political philosophy from Oxford University in London, where he studied as a Rhodes scholar.

He has worked as Bullock’s chief legal counsel for the past two years. Before that, he worked in private practice and as a law clerk for 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Sid Thomas.

Graybill noted his work under Bullock, including a lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service over a rule he says allows “dark money” political groups to hide their donors and a legal challenge of Fox’s 2018 opinion that said Bullock ignored state law in approving a state conservation easement for an eastern Montana ranch.

Bullock won the latter case in the Montana Supreme Court, which said the governor had the authority to approve the easement.

Graybill also said the attorney general should take the lead on challenging or investigating practices that harm consumers, such as drug companies delaying the entry of less-expensive generic drugs into the market or the Trump administration allowing companies to sell information on private Internet usage.

“I think it’s important to have an attorney general who, every single day, goes into work looking for ways to make ordinary people’s lives better, to have a lawyer that actually works for you,” he said. “I think we need that again.”