Virginia State Sen. Mark Herring (D-Loudoun) wants to be the Commonwealth’s next attorney general – all that’s standing in his way are two opponents and two elections in the next six months.
Herring will see if he can overcome two of those obstacles on Tuesday, June 11, when he faces former federal prosecutor Justin Fairfax in the Democratic Primary Election for the nomination.
And Herring, who has served in the senate since 2006, thinks he’s going to pull it off.
“As we come down the home stretch and the momentum continues to build, I feel really confident,” Herring told Patch on Thursday, just days before the primary.
Both Herring, 51, and Fairfax have set themselves apart from current Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli; the Tea Party favorite and gubernatorial candidate has used his office for political gain, they said.
Herring said Cuccinelli had “bent and twisted the law” to push extreme policy when an attorney should focus on the law first and foremost.
“There has been way too much politics in the office,” Herring said.
And Cucinelli’s potential Republican successor, state sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg), would do nothing to break the cycle, Herring said.
“The race in November is going to be about whether we want to continue in that direction or want fundamental change,” Herring told Patch. “I’m running to take that kind of politics and ideology out of the office. I’ll put the law first.”
Herring has seven years of public office setting him apart from his Democratic opponent, and it’s helping. According to Public Policy Polling data from May 29, Democrats prefer Herring to Fairfax by a narrow 3 percent.
If elected, Herring says he will work to protect consumers, ensure an equal opportunity for businesses and defend civil rights, including a woman’s right to choose and a citizen’s right to vote. (Click here for Herring’s Equality Agenda.)
Herring opposes voter ID laws that he says inhibit Virginians’ voting abilities, as well as “conscience-clause” legislation that allows discrimination from private, state-funded adoption agencies.
Herring told Patch he applauded Gov. Bob McDonnell’s recent announcement regarding the restoration of civil rights to nonviolent felons. The governor has promised to eliminate the two-year wait period before a felon can submit an application to get his or her rights back and to automatically restore on an individual basis if all debts and fees have been paid.
“It’s a good first step,” said Herring, who has supported constitutional amendments to change the law in the past. “Until we’re able to get that constitutional amendment done, I think the approach he’s taking is a good one.”
And Herring leads in the money race as well.
Campaign finance reports filed for April 1 to May 29 show that Herring raised $180,000 in the eight-week period, compared to Fairfax’s $133,000.
In the final days before the primary, Herring’s camp will focus its efforts on one final push to get out the vote. He has been endorsed by the Virginia Education Association and many elected officials, including state Sens. Geoge Barker, Adam Ebbin, Janet Howell, and many Fairfax County Supervisors. (Click here for a full list of Herring’s endorsements.)
“Voters can trust me to do what’s right,” he said.
Herring earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree at the University of Virginia. He lives in Leesburg with his wife and two children.
For more information on Mark Herring, visit his campaign website.