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Welcome to the Race. Now, Four Questions to Kick it Off for Justin Fairfax

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As you probably know, there are two Democrats running for the party’s nomination to be Virginia’s next Attorney General. The first candidate is State Senator Mark Herring, who I’m supporting and also consulting for. To read my full endorsement of Sen. Herring, please click here, but the bottom line is as follows:

…Mark Herring is a candidate who is running for all the right reasons, with superb qualifications for the job, with a sharp mind and with a clear vision for what the Virginia Attorney General’s Office should, and should NOT, be doing. As if all that’s not enough, Senator Herring also has proven his ability to win elections in a “purple” part of Virginia, one which happens to be arguably the most important “swing” area of the state. Add all that up, and what we’ve got here is what is known in technical terms as a “no brainer.” 🙂 In all seriousness, though, there is no doubt in my mind that Mark Herring should be Virginia’s next Attorney General, and that WHEN he’s elected, he will do a superb job.

In addition, Mark’s been a champion for protecting a woman’s right to choose, against rolling back voting rights, and against Ken Cuccinelli’s assault on science. Sen. Herring has also “championed legislation to target those who would commit financial scams against our seniors and as a member of the Governor McDonnell’s Domestic Violence and Response Advisory Board…sponsored and passed legislation to strengthen penalties for acts of domestic violence.” In sum, Sen. Herring is eminently qualified to be Virginia’s next Attorney General, knows the issues facing our state inside-out, and is a proven winner at the polls. As I said, it’s pretty much a no brainer.

Then there’s the other Democratic candidate for AG, Justin Fairfax, a guy who almost none of us had ever heard of before he started running for one of the most powerful offices in the state.  Which is fine, everybody has a right to run for any office they want to run for in this country. Of course, just because people can run for the office doesn’t mean that: a) they’re in any way, shape, or form qualified for that office; b) they have any serious track record of accomplishment, either in Virginia or nationally; c) they have ever been elected to anything and/or demonstrated any ability to win elections; or d) that we should support them.

Still, Justin Fairfax has managed – with about 1/2 hour to spare before the deadline – to get on the ballot for the June Democratic primary. Congratulations. But that also means it’s time to start asking some questions about this guy. Here are three for starters; more will follow in coming weeks.

1. Where has Justin Fairfax been, and what has he been doing the past few years, as we’ve worked our butts off to elect Virginia Democrats, defeat Virginia Republicans, and fight for the progressive values we so strongly believe in?

The fact is, pretty much nobody in Virginia had ever heard of Justin Fairfax prior to his run for AG this year. There are excellent reasons for this. For starters, there’s no sign of any involvement by Justin Fairfax whatsoever in helping to elect Virginia Democrats, whether we’re talking about Tim Kaine vs. Jerry Kilgore in 2005, Jim Webb vs. George Allen in 2006, Tom Perriello vs. Virgil Goode in 2008, Creigh Deeds vs. Bob McDonnell in 2009, Gerry Connolly vs. Keith Fimian in 2010 (a race Connolly barely won), the crucial Virginia State Senate elections in 2011, Tim Kaine vs. George Allen in 2012, etc, etc., etc. Heck, there’s not even any sign that Justin Fairfax was a member of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee all those years. And there’s no particular sign of monetary contributions to Virginia state and/or local Democratic candidates, with the exception of Mike Signer in 2009. Note that Signer is supporting…Mark Herring for AG this year. Hmmm.

Anyway, the bottom line is that while the rest of us have worked our butts off the past few years (in my case, since 2005) to turn this state around politically, Justin Fairfax was…nowhere to be found. Thanks a lot. And now he wants to be our state’s Attorney General? Alrighty then.

2. What makes Justin Fairfax believe that he has the detailed knowledge of, and experience with, complex Virginia issues of all kinds, despite having had zero involvement in Virginia politics his entire life?

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’d like someone as our state’s Attorney General who has worked on the important issues – transportation, health care, energy, environment, voting rights, civil rights, economic development, a woman’s right to choose, LGBT equality, etc, etc. – facing our state, who is a proven champion on many of the things we all care about, and who has a track record of success. Mark Herring has all of those things. Justin Fairfax doesn’t have any of them. Which is fine, for a private citizen, but how does that make him even remotely qualified to be Attorney General of Virginia? Uhhhhh.

3. How can we trust someone who wildly exaggerates all the time?

It’s almost laughable, at this point, and I’ve been biting my tongue to see if Justin Fairfax even made it on the ballot, but I’ve watched in amazement as this guy has told one whopper after another, yet has not been called on any of it. For instance, on his campaign website, he claims that he “used his much-praised skill-set to hold criminals accountable and protect Virginia’s citizens, businesses, and government agencies from violence, fraud, financial crimes, and drug and human trafficking.” In reality, Fairfax was in charge of only x cases, lost y of them, was basically in a junior capacity, and in no way left a record of accomplishment, despite his supposed “much-praised skill-set.” Also on his website, he claims that he “served as an assistant to then Vice Presidential candidate Edwards during the Kerry/Edwards 2004 Presidential Campaign.” Except for one problem: Fairfax wasn’t an “assistant” to John Edwards, he was an extremely junior advance person who received a grand total of two (2) paychecks from the Kerry-Edwards campaign. Wow. Also on his website, Fairfax claims that his “accomplishments have been recognized and written about in media outlets,” but he provides absolutely no evidence that this is the case, since in fact it isn’t the case. Recently, he suggested on his Facebook page (see photo above) that not only had DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz endorsed him, but that she was doing a fundraiser for him. Neither was, or is, in any way, shape, or form true. And when called out about this on his Facebook page, he responded by…leaving up the misleading advertisement for the fundraiser. Classy.

Oh yeah, and how can I forget how his press secretary told me, the night of the Mt. Vernon Democrats’ fundraiser and straw poll, that he was another Barack Obama. Yeah, except for Obama’s tremendous accomplishments – his years working as a community organizer, running for (and winning) election to the Illinois State Senate, serving in the Illinois State Senate for 7 years,  running for (and winning) election to the U.S. Senate, etc, etc. – none of which Justin Fairfax even comes close to matching. Nice to have a high opinion of oneself, though.

4. Finally, how would Justin Fairfax not get eaten alive by Mark Obenshain or Rob Bell in the general election?

Given all of the above – no serious knowledge of Virginia issues; no relevant experience; no track record of ever running, let alone winning, a campaign – how would Mark Obenshain or Rob Bell, both of whom have tremendous knowledge of Virginia issues (although of course they’re both totally wrong on everything), not eat Justin Fairfax alive? It would truly not be a pretty picture.

So those are four questions, for starters, which it would be great to hear Justin Fairfax respond to. Not in glittering generalities, either, like his all-style-zero-substance stump speech, but with actual specifics about what he’s done, where he’s been, and why on earth he thinks his first elective office should be Virginia Attorney General. We’re all ears.