Why does the U.S. attorney's post matter?
In addition, they are insulated from the local political forces that might hold back the state Attorney General's office or a locally elected prosecutor.
And after the Republican wipeout two weeks ago, the job will be even more important.
Other than prosecutors, the major checks on power in the state are legislators; the state auditor, governor, attorney general and other statewide elected officials; the state Supreme Court; the political parties; investigators for the State Board of Elections and the media.
Consider that Democrats now control both chambers of the legislature, hold eight out of 10 statewide offices including the governor, attorney general and the auditor, and an incoming U.S. senator in the majority party with ties to the state Senate leader.
Republicans have a 4-3 advantage on the state Supreme Court and one U.S. senator in the minority party. The state's party chairwoman is taking some criticism on blogs and may face a challenge next year. The only statewide officials are in labor and agriculture.
That leaves the board of elections, the U.S. attorney's office and the media as the major potential checks on corruption in the state.