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  Kelley, Frank J.
NameFrank J. Kelley
Alpena, Michigan , United States
Born December 31, 1924 (93 years)
Contributoreddy 9_99
Last ModifedRBH
Feb 19, 2013 03:15am
InfoFrank J. Kelley (born December 31, 1924), was the 50th Attorney General of the U.S. state of Michigan. His 37-year term of office, from 1961 to 1998, made him both the youngest (36 years old) and oldest (74 years old) Attorney General in the state's history, and led to his nickname as the "Eternal General". He is the longest serving state attorney general in U.S. history.

After receiving undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Detroit, Kelley became a lawyer in private practice and received an appointment as city attorney of Alpena, Michigan.

Kelley was appointed as Attorney General in 1961 by Governor John Swainson to fill a vacancy left when Paul L. Adams became a Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. Kelley was elected in his own right as the Democratic candidate 10 times before his retirement from the position in 1998, when he was succeeded by future Governor of Michigan Jennifer Granholm. Governor Granholm has publicly acknowledged Kelley to be one of her mentors and closest advisors.

Kelley was the first state attorney general to establish both a consumer protection and environmental protection division. He became nationally recognized in the area of consumer protection appearing annually on the NBC show "Dateline" to discuss issues such as item pricing. He also gained statewide acclaim for battling utilities and insurance companies on rate increases.

While Attorney General, Kelley ran for election to the U.S. Senate in 1972, but lost to incumbent Robert P. Griffin.

After his departure from the Attorney General's office, Kelley founded Kelley Cawthorne, a prominent lobbying and law firm in Lansing, Michigan. In private practice he has represented the late Marge Schott during the sale of her majority interest in the Cincinnati Reds Major League Baseball franchise. He also represents a host of major companies such as DTE Energy, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Michigan, and Palace Sports & Entertainment/Detroit Pistons organization.

In 1999, then Republican Governor John Engler named him to a seat on the Mackinac Island State Park Commission which controls 80% of the island. In 2007, Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm named him Chair of the Commission. As Chair he replaced his law partner, Dennis O. Cawthorne, former Republican Leader of the Michigan Legislature.


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  11/08/1994 MI Attorney General Won 57.41% (+14.85%)
  11/02/1982 MI Attorney General Won 57.52% (+15.78%)
  11/07/1972 MI US Senate Lost 46.29% (-5.98%)
  11/06/1962 MI Attorney General Won 52.12% (+4.44%)
  12/28/1961 MI Attorney General - Appointment Won 100.00% (+100.00%)
MI Governor - D Primary - Aug 01, 2018 D Gretchen Whitmer