State Sen. Mark Herring, D-Loudoun County, announced this morning that he will run for attorney general in 2013, becoming the first Democrat to formally enter the contest for the office now held by Republican Ken Cuccinelli.
“It’s time to get politics out of the Attorney General’s office and return its focus to doing what’s right for the people of Virginia,” said Herring, who has served in the Senate since winning a 2006 special election.
In his announcement statement, Herring, 50, sharply criticized Cuccinelli’s performance in the office and asserted that the Republicans running to succeed the incumbent attorney general would be no different. Cuccinelli will run for governor next year.
State Sen. Mark Obenshain of Harrisonburg. Del. Rob Bell of Albemarle County and Fairfax County Circuit Court Clerk John Frey are pursuing the Republican nomination to succeed Cuccinelli.
The last Democrat to win an election for state attorney general was Mary Sue Terry in 1989.
Here is Herring’s announcement statement:
“Over the last three years, we’ve watched Attorney General Cuccinelli pursue an ideological crusade that is out of step with the mainstream. Time after time, the Attorney General has abused the powers of his office and twisted the law to advance his personal political agenda, which has been costly to taxpayers and costly to the credibility of the office. It’s hurt Virginians and damaged our state’s reputation.
“It’s time to get politics out of the Attorney General’s office and return its focus to doing what’s right for the people of Virginia.
“Virginia cannot afford another Attorney General like Ken Cuccinelli. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what those on the Republican side jockeying to take his place are offering. But what Virginians are looking for is an Attorney General who will restore the people’s trust in the office.
“So after talking with Virginians across the Commonwealth, and with much thought and careful consideration, I have decided to run to be Virginia’s next Attorney General.
“I want to be the Attorney General for all of the people in our state. Virginians deserve the respect and the protection of the law, regardless of the Attorney General’s personal politics.
“And that’s the kind of Attorney General I will be. As I have done in the Senate, I will work to keep Virginia’s families and seniors safe. I will fight to protect consumers, defend civil rights and ensure state agencies are accountable to the people. And I will stand up for the right of women to make their own healthcare decisions without government interference.
“As the only Democrat from Loudoun County in the General Assembly, I’ve stood up to Ken Cuccinelli and his allies in Richmond on the front lines of the legislative fights over their socially divisive agenda. I have won tough races in a swing district in the outer-suburbs of Northern Virginia and I know what it takes to win.
“I look forward to campaigning in every corner of the Commonwealth and introducing Virginia to a new vision for the office of Attorney General.”
– Michael Sluss