Virginia attorney general survives primary challenge

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring on Tuesday won the Democratic nomination to serve a third consecutive term, turning back a challenge from a more liberal rival who won support from some of the most prominent elected officials in the commonwealth.

The Associated Press called the race for Herring with 86 percent of precincts reporting. He held 55 percent of the vote against state Del. Jay Jones (D), who managed 45 percent of the vote.

Throughout the campaign, Jones pressured Herring over the incumbent’s record on civil rights. Herring acknowledged in 2019 that he had dressed up in blackface during his college years, a disclosure that came as both Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) faced calls to resign over their own scandals.

In a debate last month, Jones said Herring’s apology had been half-hearted.

Northam, Reps. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.), and Richmond, Va., Mayor Levar Stoney (D) all backed Jones over Herring, an unusual division within a Democratic Party that was rattled by the series of scandals in 2019.
Herring focused on his own record of progressive achievements, his move to establish a civil rights division within the attorney general’s office and his win record against the Trump administration.
Herring won late support from the Democratic Attorneys General Association, a group that backs incumbent attorneys general in part with donations it accepts from major corporations. The group funneled $800,000 in in-kind donations to Herring’s campaign in the final days of the race.
Herring has served longer as the commonwealth’s chief law enforcement officer than anyone since Abram Penn Staples, who resigned in 1947 after 13 years in office to take a state judgeship. He won election in 2013 by a margin of just 165 votes out of more than 2.2 million cast, and he won reelection in 2017 with 53 percent of the vote.
In November, Herring will face state Del. Jason Miyares, who won the Republican nomination at the state GOP convention last month.
Tags Attorney general Bobby Scott Elaine Luria Mark Herring Virginia

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