I don’t have this 100% confirmed on the record, mostly because I haven’t been able to get a clear answer directly from “the horse’s mouth,” so to speak, but…I’ve now heard from multiple good Democratic sources that Mark Herring is planning to run for a third term as Virginia Attorney General in 2021. If so, that obviously would “mark” – pun intended – a major turnaround from Herring’s previously (December 2018) expressed plans to run for *Governor* in 2021. Of course, December 2018 was in many ways a lifetime ago, as it precedes the “blackface” scandals (including Herring’s) of February 2019, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic and so much more.
Meanwhile, AG Herring has been publicly very quiet (other than this comment in late February 2019 that he “has not changed his intention to run for governor in 2021 but he hasn’t ‘thought about that at all'”; and a similar comment in early March 2019) about his plans for 2021 – whether he still plans to run for governor, or maybe run for reelection as Attorney General, or maybe not run for anything in 2021. But clearly, Herring loves the AG’s job – he has called it his “dream job” numerous times in the past – and has been working very hard, and effectively, at it. One reason I was thinking he might not run for reelection is that he only raised $9,470 in his “One Commonwealth” PAC in the first half of 2020, with $391,681 cash-on-hand as of 6/30. As I wrote back in July, that fundraising number certainly doesn’t look like someone who’s running statewide.
But…word has been leaking out, and it’s pretty clear now that Herring’s likely to run for reelection as AG. The question is, what would this mean for the other possible candidates, including Del. Jay Jones – who announced back on July 13 and has both a bunch of endorsements and a lot of money raised? Also, how about Henrico Commonwealth’s Attorney Shannon Taylor and House Majority Leader Charniele Herring, both of whom have been rumored as possible – maybe even likely – AG candidates for 2021? It also will be interesting to see what Gov. Northam, General Assembly members, etc, etc. will do regarding this race. And, of course, Mark Herring has done great work in many, many areas as AG – on LGBT equality, immigration, the ERA, the state’s response to COVID-19, removing Confederate statues, universal background checks and other gun violence prevention measures, clean car standards, the Clean Water Act, criminal justice reform, women’s reproductive freedom, the “Muslim ban,” the climate crisis, voting by mail, defending our democracy, the Affordable Care Act, etc., etc. Which is a powerful record, clearly, and one that’s presumably very popular with Virginia Democrats.
Anyway, stay tuned…2021 is going to be wild – assuming we all survive 2020! 😉
P.S. Currently, the Democratic 2021 candidates for governor listed on VPAP are Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, LG Justin Fairfax, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Sen. Jennifer McClellan and AG Mark Herring.