Home 2013 races Unanimous Blue Virginia Endorsement: Mark Herring for Attorney General

Unanimous Blue Virginia Endorsement: Mark Herring for Attorney General


In the past, in our various iterations (“Raising Kaine,” “RK,” “Blue Commonwealth,” “Blue Virginia”), we’ve made group blog endorsements of Democratic candidates in contested primaries. Sometimes those are unanimous. Sometimes it’s been a big majority in favor of one candidate or the other. And sometimes, it’s been more evenly split, or perhaps just a small majority, and/or a highly contentious/divisive process, in which cases we don’t make an endorsement. That’s just some context to today’s Blue Virginia endorsement of Mark Herring, which was strong, unanimous, and completely without division or contention of any kind. Bottom line: on this one, there wasn’t even any back and forth, as there often is, but a crystal clear choice: Mark Herring for Attorney General of Virginia.

We will explain our decision in a minute, but first a note about the LG race. In discussions among the Blue Virginia front pagers, we found majority support for Aneesh Chopra, but we also found one person not comfortable making an endorsement in that race, and a couple (e.g., Teddy Goodson) supporting Ralph Northam. Given that, we’ve decided not to make a Blue Virginia group endorsement in the LG race. Individual members of the “front page” have endorsed Aneesh Chopra separately, including Elaine in Roanoke and Lowell Feld’s (full disclosure: Lowell has been consulting to the Herring campaign on social media since January 2013; both Herring and his opponent have run paid ads on this site; nobody else on the Blue Virginia editorial board is consulting to Mark Herring).

Now, back to our unanimous endorsement of Mark Herring. First off, we refer you to the Blue Virginia interview with Herring, as well as to Lowell’s endorsement of Herring back in January. The interview discusses Herring’s background and experience, his reasons for running, his vision for the AG’s office, as well as his positions on a number of issues (e.g., pro-choice, pro-LGBT equality, pro-environment, pro-science, pro-consumer protection). For its part, the endorsement lays out the positive argument for Herring in detail, and we recommend that you read it. Also, see below for why we believe every Virginia Democrat and progressive should enthusiastically, and proudly, cast their vote for Mark Herring on Tuesday.

*Herring is superbly qualified for this job. He’s not just a highly experienced attorney, he’s also served on the front lines both at the local and state levels, giving him a tremendous, deep, detailed knowledge of all the issues facing Virginia. This experience is far and away the best – deepest, broadest, you name it – of the candidates in the race for AG.

*Herring has proven that he can win elections, not in deep-blue Arlington or Charlottesville or Richmond City, but in the “purplish” areas of Loudoun County and western Fairfax County (although note that this district went overwhelmingly for both Barack Obama and Tim Kaine in 2012, so things seem to be looking up from a Democratic perspective).

*Herring has a strong, progressive voting record. According to Project Vote Smart, Herring has consistently received 100% ratings from Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia; a 100% rating from Equality Virginia; and 100% ratings from the AFL-CIO. In addition, Herring was recently named a “Legislative Hero” by the Virginia League of Conservation Voters. That’s a record we can all applaud.

*During this election campaign, Herring has received strong endorsements from people and organizations we greatly respect: climate scientist/hero Michael Mann (victim of Ken Cuccinelli’s out-of-control, outrageous, anti-science witch hunt and abuse of power); NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia PAC; the Virginia Education Association; several big labor organizations; elected officials ranging from Senators Donald McEachin and Adam Ebbin to Delegates Rob Krupicka, Patrick Hope, Alfonso Lopez, Charniele Herring, David Toscano, Delores McQuinn, and Mamye BaCote; Mayors Molly Ward, Paul Fraim, and David Bowers; Arlington Revenue Commissioner Ingrid Morroy; and many many more.

*Herring rolled out a strong “Equality Agenda” for LGBT – and all! – Virginians. In it, Herring pledged to use the power of the Attorney General to push for “anti-bullying policies” and “to support initiatives to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Virginians from discrimination and disparate treatment in state and local agencies and programs.” This is great stuff, and will mark a profund shift from the bigotry and intolerance of Ken Cuccinelli.

*Herring also unveiled his agenda on women’s issues, stressing that “equal opportunities and rights for women and men are critical to the well being and progress of everyone – individuals, families and communities.”  On a conference call, State Senator Barbara Favola heaped praise on Mark Herring, asserting that “Virginia’s women can trust Mark Herring because he’s…always been there for us,” and adding, “Mark is the only candidate for Attorney General who’s been an outspoken opponent of the TRAP regulations.” The bottom line, in Sen. Barbara Favola’s view, is that “I fully support Mark Herring for Attorney General, because I know he has our backs, I know we can trust him.” We agree.

*The powerful endorsement by climate scientist Michael Mann of Mark Herring was certainly one of the highlights of this campaign. According to Professor Mann, “it’s a real honor to be endorsing and supporting Senator Herring, because of the brave stance that he took very early on, when my colleagues and I at the University of Virginia were subject to what the Washington Post called a witch hunt by the Attorney General.” For his part, Mark Herring has called Ken Cuccinelli’s actions in pursuing his anti-science vendetta against Michael Mann an “absolutely outrageous and an abuse of power and downright unAmerican,” so bad that “Thomas Jefferson would be spinning in his grave.” That about sums it up, and we strongly appreciate Mark Herring’s leadership in this crucial area.

*We’d also point to Herring’s endorsement by Mary Sue Terry, the only woman ever elected to statewide office in Virginia, and the last Democrat to hold the office of Attorney General of Virginia. That really says a great deal, and we encourage everyone to read that endorsement!

*Over and over again, Herring has emphasized that when he’s Attorney General, he will return that office to one that serves ALL Virginians, that puts the law first, that stands up for mainstream Virginia values, and that works to make Virginia a welcoming place for individuals, businesses, and families to call home.

In the end, we just want to reiterate that this choice was not difficult in any way. In fact, it was one of the easiest endorsements we’ve ever made. On Tuesday, we urge you to vote for Mark Herring. And before then, please tell everyone you know to do the same. Thanks.

  • BatCave

    And here is a great comment posted by Mr. Bennett as to why Justin Fairfax should be our nominee:

    Dan –

    Thanks.  Sorry for the to-personal response in the early part of this thread.  And of course respect is mutual.  But please stop the Justin insults, as they are just plainly wrong.  And they sound like those our side made in 2009 against Terry (I was a Moran supporter.  The argument then was that Terry had not earned the right by putting in the DPVa time.)  The same arguments were heard as to Obama vs. Clinton in 2008 ; McCain vs. Anyone in 2008.  And what about the relatively new political stars, Aneesh vs. Ralph (both of whom I love).  I prize my intellectual consistency.  (By the way – the Mark supporters violate this same principle of contradictory views when they suggest that abandoning Mark’s Senate seat is no big deal because its easy to win it back in the same round of arguments where supporters boast of how strong of a candidate he is having won in Loudon County).

    Justin is not a buddy or mine.  He did not seek me out before I became a fan.  Three things persuaded me:

    a. His qualifications;  

    b. The issues he understood as primary Democratic AG concerns; and

    c. A real concern that our Party institution structurally excludes strong African American candidates.

    As to (a.) and your comment.  

    1.  Justin was not a prosecutor by lack of job opportunities.  Wow.  He was a Columbia Law Grad, AND made the Columbia Law Review!  If you understand the path to these two accomplishments – Columbia is one of the very best schools in the nation.  VERY difficult to get in to, regardless of your background.  Exponentially better than the school I attended (Mason), or the three schools that are listed by US News as better than Mason – UVA Law, W&L Law or W&M Law.   Ridiculously better and harder to attend than Regent (where our current Governor attended school), Richmond or Appalachian.   And to make Law Review (which is a rough measure of class rank after Year 1L)??  One reason that lawyers where so quick to jump on the Obama bandwagon (Harvard Law, Editor of the Law Review).  He was selected as the a Wien scholarship prize recipient, which (without speaking to Justin) I assume is this Columbia Law Wien Prize on the school’s website, described as:  “Several fellowships, named each year in honor of the recipient of the Wien Prize, are provided annually to outstanding law and business students whose scholarly and professional activities demonstrate their involvement in questions of the responsibility of business to social concerns such as the arts, energy and the environment, and social services.”

    2. He went to Duke undergrad. where he was also well decorated and selected as the Public Policy School grad speaker.  He is a Duke Univ. Board of Trustee member.

    3. He was hired by a large firm as well as by the USA office (which is actually a very well-respected job.  Hard to obtain).

    4. He worked in meaningful positions with both the 2000 and 2004 Democratic presidential tickets.  (Something he was restricted from doing while with the USA’s office.)

    As to (b.):

    He has campaigned from the start on economic fairness and consumer fraud.  THE PRIMARY ISSUES for an AG.  Issues that Mark has 100% ignored.  100%.  Yes, its great having a Dem. Candidate concerned about global warming and the (unfortunately in Va) theoretical support for Marriage Equality (Aren’t we all?).  But I am already concerned as to a lawyer whose law firm website self-describes as “Servicing the legal needs of the business and professional community.” I am made even more concerned when reading mark’s AG website and seeing at the bottom of a long list a promise to protect consumers by making sure Virginia remains the number one state in which to do business.

    What issues – ISSUES – are the basis for your support for Mark as opposed to Justin?  Mark has a strong “Virginia FREE” rating – 100% in 2013, 74% in 2012.  He is the 3rd best Va Democratic Senator as rated by the Va Chamber of Commerce (behind Colgan, Northam and tied with Barker).


    In fact – I am not merely concerned with Consumer issues from a policy standpoint, but as well from a campaign competence perspective.  Take a look at what some of the Dem AG stars nationally do or did on these issues:  Illinois, Minnesota, Kentucky, New York, Iowa, California.   Hell – even Republican’s try to jump on this bandwagon (Google my 15 seconds of fame on 60 Minutes, led by the Ohio AG – “60 minutes and credit reporting”.)  The VA AG Dems candidates have been idiots, always running on either criminal justice issues (which are not AG issues and are also not issues that can distinguish D from R, as the R’s will always feel free to be more harsh on criminals), or on “Dem values are better than R values” arguments.  The later of course will be true, but not effective for an AG campaign.  

    Thus, unlike Mark, Fairfax currently offers an argument and brand that is different than and could add something to Terry’s.  Mark on the otherhand is a “coattail” candidates that will entirely depend on Terry winning to have a chance.  In that case, why care.  Just rally for Terry, give $ to Terry and try to drag along the AG position.

    Finally, as to (c.)  Demographics.  Well, we should not support a less-qualified candidate over a better qualified one because he or she is a woman, Hispanic or African American, etc.  But – REALLY?  Our Party, which lives or dies on African American votes, has NO African American candidates?  Or maybe it is that we do not have candidates who can check the right DPVa boxes.  AND be from NOVA, where our Party’s heaviest votes are.  (Dan – want to bet on whether your Va Beach or my Peninsula turns out more primary votes?  My bet:  Regardless – it’s a small fraction of NOVA’s).

    And “diversity” is more than checking a box.  Do you know Justin’s background?  Raised by a Single Mother with his grandparents?  Inner City D.C.  Gave back to his society IMMEDIATELY, in college, after college, in law school and after law school?  Married to an African American Dentist.  His entire family has a set of experiences, perspectives and proven ability to overcome challenges that we denigrate and irrationally minimize by thinking of diversity merely as box checking.

    BUT as a final aside – can we win this election without Black turnout?  Ask Terry if he thinks so.

  • BatCave

    For adding the disclosure that Lowell works for Mark Herring.

  • totallynext

    I am supporting Justin Fairfax for AG and Aneesh Chopra for LG

    Sorry just had to bring some levity.   Primaries are hard on us!

    While the reasons givin for the endorsement are stellar, there was not one instance of why you should not support  Justin Fairfax.  

    His accomplishments are many (see below), he has come on strong as a Candidate both in his positions and presentation.  While not a career politician (which I find refreshing) he has shown excellent ability to talk with the voters and plainly highlight what his values and positions are.

    This is always the most frustrating points of the primary process…When the Democratic field is full of excellent candidates, we all win…as long as the voices are all heard.

    I believe that the team of McAuliff, Chopra, Fairfax will kick some major ass in November

  • totallynext

    Make your endorsement fine, but then to be demeaning in your closing argument does no one any good.   What say you if Justin is in fact the nominee?

  • If you’re in the Leesburg area, check it out!  Personally, I’m going to be live blogging the election results from home, then after Mark and Aneesh win, hopefully I’ll have a chance to head out for some parties. 🙂

    Please join us for an election night watch party with:

    Virginia’s Next Attorney General

    State Senator Mark Herring

    Tuesday, June 11th

    Palio Ristorante Italiano

    2 W Market St

    Leesburg, VA 20176

    We will be gathering after the polls close at 7pm

    until the results come in!

    You can RSVP online at:


    Learn more about Mark:


    Facebook (facebook.com/markherring33) & Twitter (@SenMarkHerring)

  • on her Facebook page:

    Friends, another friendly reminder that this Tuesday, June 11 there is a primary election for Attorney General and Lieutenant Governor. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. at your normal polling location. I have already shared with you my support for Aneesh Chopra for Lieutenant Governor. I also encourage you to support my friend, Mark Herring for Attorney General. Mark has been a friend and colleague in the General Assembly for the last 3 years and I have seen him stand up and lead on the issues we care about. Mark will be an outstanding Attorney General and has the track record to prove it. You can learn more about Mark by visiting his website.

  • kindler

    “When the Democratic field is full of excellent candidates, we all win.”

    This is the pleasant primary where we’re choosing candidates because we think they’re the best (as also in my endorsement of Aneesh Chopra), and not because they’re “the lesser of two evils.”

    I’ve heard barely a word against Fairfax, and only a little bit of negativity in the Chopra-Northam race — very mild compared to previous races.  This race has been about choosing the strongest candidates to beat the stuffing out of our ultra-right wing opponents.  

    And yes, I agree that Chopra and Herring are those candidates, which is why I’ve already voted for them, absentee.  

  • Elaine in Roanoke

    Justin Fairfax is a candidate with very strong credentials. However, I made my decision to vote for Mark Herring based on a belief that Herring, a seasoned candidate, will most easily defeat Mark Obenshain in November…if Democrats go and vote and not sit at home while the Tea Fanatics vote en masse.

    I stated in my post that I hope Fairfax will stay active and try for other elective offices. He has a bright future ahead of him. The weaknesses some people find in the campaign he ran is simply due to inexperience, I believe. If he does win on Tuesday, it is incumbent on all of us to help him get elected.

  • ir003436

    Not surprising that the BlueVirginia “unanimous endorsement” went to Mark Herring.  After all, BV is a tool of the entrenched DPVA whose motto is “Vote for the old white guys.”

    What you folks are forgetting is this:  With DINO Northam and Herring leaving the Senate, the Virginia GOTP will pick up one or two Senate seats.  Now, I know your argument – – yes, but, Ralph Northam as LtG and Terry McAuliffe as Gov will keep them in check.

    However — here’s a newsflash for you:  LtGov and Gov serve for four years.  Senators serve FORGODDAMEVER.  Thus, when we lose the Senate, whether by one seat or two, we have lost it for a decade or more.

  • Sunnyjane

    My husband and I are both absentee voters and we have ensured that both Herring and Chopra got our votes. We’ll be anxiously awaiting the results on Tuesday.  

    Just a personal aside, I wouldn’t vote for the Gruesome Threesome on the Republican ticket if they were running against Mickey Mouse.