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.