Home Virginia Politics Justin Fairfax – The Punches Ben (and others) Pulled

Justin Fairfax – The Punches Ben (and others) Pulled


 photo 130607Doesnotexist_zpsafd8137f.jpgThose involved in local politics are irritated by the soul who suddenly appears and expects the same deference as those in the trenches for years. Anyone familiar with Ben Tribbett expects him to call it as he sees it. So why have he and others tiptoed around the Fairfax campaign?

On separate occasions I recently ran across Brent McKenzie and Susan Hippen in Hampton Roads. Each of them is running for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. Neither of them is a newcomer to local politics or is unfamiliar to Democrats in Virginia Beach. Everyone in the local committee understands they have paid dues. Brent has been doing yeoman’s work for the local committee as long as I can remember. Susan spent many an evening making calls for then candidate Obama and working for other Democratic campaigns in Virginia. Both have a history of personal accomplishment. Neither burst onto the scene without laying the groundwork. Easy to take them seriously.

…Mr. Fairfax, while certainly possessed of potential, did very little of note while at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia (E.D. Va.). It is unclear if he personally tried a single jury trial while serving as an AUSA. Indeed, his only verifiable lead prosecutorial credit is to an indictment for a phone snatching case in 2011. – PhilVABlue comment on NLS

When Justin Fairfax surfaced as a candidate for Attorney general, he came across as an interloper. No one could cite his work with local committees in Northern Virginia or the DPVA. Nowhere in his own biography does he mention any involvement in local democratic organizations. He could have a pass for that if instead he had spent time with some other local community organization, but that does not appear the case either. Rather, he embellishes a rather mundane series of accomplishments.  

Now we could not have known how incompetently he would guide his campaign when he entered the race. But now we have that as a further demonstration that he is unqualified to take on the responsibilities of the Attorney General’s office. There is nothing to commend him to our consideration for much, if any office.

So how is it that he has made the leap from political bystander to candidate for statewide office? What is the compelling argument that he should be taken seriously? And why did Ben essentially treat Fairfax with kid gloves when he endorsed Senator Herring?

I can’t tell you, just like I can’t tell you why the locals in Virginia Beach told Terry McAuliffe that the young man running as a Democrat for the 81st HoD seat in 2009 was a credible candidate. Sometimes we just want things to be the way we want them to be even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. In this case there just is no evidence at all; nothing to commend Justin Fairfax as a credible candidate much less an actual Attorney General. But I can tell you that Ben should sharpen his sword.  

  • totallynext

    What a bunch of hogwash.   Is there some manual that says you must work in the trenches before being. Democratic candidate for any office?  

    Have you not heard of the hatch act?   Seriously, you think a us attorney should be active in partician politics?   I’m pretty sure that is a big No No, not just ethically but probably legally also.

    So I guess I better sit down tonight and write some bs diary on what exactly mark herring has done?

    The primary is in one week…let the voters decide without this kind of crap

  • ak44

    This reads like something Clinton (Bill or Hillary, take your pick) would’ve written about Obama.


  • The Richmonder

    So Dan Sullivan, a front pager who has been on this site forever and has dozens of diaries posts about someone being a little wet behind the ears suddenly taking it into their head to run for a statewide nomination and what do we get?

    Negative comments from two members I don’t recognize–one of whom has exactly one diary to their name and–this is rich–someone who registered today.  In short, two people with next to no credibility in this community.

    If Justin Fairfax was serious about having a political career he would’ve withdrawn long ago and begun the process of building an organization for 2017. As it is, he looks suspiciously like a spoiler.

  • ir003436

    Mark Herring represents Loudon County, which, the last time I checked, was heavily Republican.  So . . . let’s elect Mark AG and let the GOTP have his Senate seat, making the current 20-20 Senate now 21-19 in favor of the Republicans.

    Even better, let’s elect DINO Ralph Northam LtGov with no guarantee his seat will remain in Democratic hands.

    If we work this right, we can make the VA Senate 22-18 in favor of the Republicans.

    I’ll take rookies in the LtGov and AG slots to keep the Senate.

  • lenbennett

    Dan –

    I am unpleasantly surprised by your comment, given your strong and progressive reputation.  Your inaccurate and harsh response indicates that you have not sat down and spoken with Justin.  There is a reason that his converts those he meats.  He conveys excitement ad leadership.  Progressive PASSION and intellect.

    It appears from your comment that you face a near total lack of knowledge of the US Attorneys Office or the Eastern District of Virgina (and likely the legal profession generally).  You are wrong in suggesting that Justin was of just modest experience in the USA’s office.  Before I endorsed him I had spoken to a number of very respected veterans of the USA’s office and system.  Justin was very well spoken and thought of.  The names that did so were voices I certainly listen to.  And I respect Mark Herring as a Senator and a Democrat.  But you really have no clue if you think running a small general practice law firm equips you to run a large government law firm, especially when you have never worked in one.  

    Political history – recent history – is littered with the failures of candidates who were nominated because they had put in the time.  Because they knew the Party apparatus.  Because they had inherited the nomination (See e.g. Kerry, John; Romney, Mitt).  And we have nominated AG candidates your way for decades now, without success.  So while you may see the AG position as a “Gold Watch” going to the most decorated campaign worker, I see it as a job we need to try and fill with a Democrat.

    And you ignore issues and Demographics entirely.  The AG’s most important policy role IS NOT the issuance of Press Releases shouting as to how much he supports our Democratic Party’s values.  Beyond running a large office and NOT suing the EPA or trying to derail the ACA, the unique role a Democratic AG MUST play is to fight to protect the fairness of the marketplace.  To protect consumers, senors, working Virginians.  And for this Mark’s platform is a HUGE “F”.   As bad as I could fear an AG to be.  While Justin campaigns on “economic security” and prosecuting lender fraud that led to our foreclosure crisis in Virginia (a battle that our current A.G. fought AGAINST!), Mark declares on his website (remarkably under the heading, “Fighting to Protect Consumers and Ensuring a Level Playing Field for Businesses”):

    Protecting consumers, ensuring fairness in the marketplace and maintaining Virginia’s status among the most business-friendly states in America will be a top priority of mine as your Attorney General.  Supporting Businesses  As Attorney General, I will work to support existing businesses in the Commonwealth, enforce laws that will attract new businesses to our state and create opportunities for small, women and minority-owned businesses.  

    So to protect us from bad business conduct – a primary role only the AG can fill and only a Democratic AG will advocate, Mark would fight to maintain Virginia as the nations most “business-friendly” state.  (By the way – this is why we are dead last in consumer protection).

    So while you may care more than I about windmills and recycling, I expect that I certainly care more about the natural environment than you may about economic fairness and justice.

    If Mark continues to campaign as the most “pro-business” candidate against his Republican opponent, he will get killed.  Democratic Bush-lite does not work anymore now than it did years ago.  We can uniquely campaign as the populists.  The Virginians vs. Bankers; Main Street v.s Wall Street.

    Finally – Demographics.  Our candidate with the most relevant experience and the strongest academic pedigree; our best campaigner; Our best candidate on this issues – is also a candidate that offers a chance to ensure our Party’s ticket is actually consistent with our values and Party makeup.   That it is diverse and inclusive.

    I strongly support Justin Fairfax.  And until now have not written a bad word about our other candidate.  

    Len Bennett (Robin Abbott’s Law Partner)

    Newport News, VA

  • totallynext

    We are going to get an update endorsement by a paid consultant for the same campaign?

    I actually think Ben’s analysis is actually pretty good on the race.  While I still support Justin, he lays out the no need for alarm, future is bright for mr.fairfax