culver schmid

Lee’s legal counsel Skrmetti, attorney Schmid apply for AG

Jonathan Skrmetti, the top legal adviser to Gov. Bill Lee since December, has applied for attorney general ahead of Friday’s deadline, The Tennessee Journal has learned. Also putting his name in was Knoxville attorney Culver Schmid of the Baker Donelson law firm.

They join four others who previously submitted applications to the state Supreme Court.

Skrmetti had been chief deputy to Attorney General Herbert Slatery when he decided to apply for a state Supreme Court vacancy last year. But he abandoned that bid at the last moment to instead join the Lee administration after Lang Wiseman decided to return to the private sector (Wiseman, incidentally, has decided against applying for AG).

Skrmetti is a Harvard law graduate who worked for the civil rights division of the U.S. Justice Department before serving as an assistant U.S. attorney in Memphis from 2011 to 2014. While later working at Butler Snow, Skrmetti was a member of the legal advisory board for the Beacon Center, the conservative think tank and advocacy group. Hired as the No. 2 position in the AG’s office in 2018, he spearheaded the state’s efforts to negotiate a $26 billion national settlement with opioid producers and distributors.

Schmid, a 2008 state Supreme Court applicant, defended Rep. Eddie Mannis against an effort to have him stripped of his narrow GOP primary win in 2020. He also served on the Tennessee Commission on Practical Government in 1995.

The deadline to apply for AG was noon Friday. The other applicants are:

— Donald Cochran, former U.S. attorney for the middle district of Tennessee.

— Jerome Cochran, a former state representative and administrative law judge.

— Mike Dunavant, former U.S. attorney for the western district of Tennessee.

— Bill Young, executive director of the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance.

Public interviews of finalists are scheduled to be conducted on Aug. 8 and Aug. 9.


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