See below for video of the second Virginia Attorney General debate, between incumbent AG Mark Herring and challenger, Del. Jay Jones. Also, check out the pre-debate press releases by the two candidates, sent out prior to the start of tonight’s forum…
UPDATE 7:59 pm – AG Herring said Democrats have a clear choice between his proven record and Del. Jones, who Herring charged has a record which “doesn’t match his record” (on predatory lenders, protecting victims of abuse, civil rights, etc.). Herring said he has taken on the biggest fights and won, and will continue to do that in a third term. Said the Republicans’ AG nominee is an “anti-choice, anti-health-care, NRA Republican who would just take us back to the days of Ken Cuccinelli,” and we can’t let that happen. Del. Jones charged that Herring talks more about the past than the future, that Herring created an animal rights division before a civil rights division; said we need someone who will “lead and not follow,” not just do the “bare minimum” and have to be “pushed to do the right thing.”
UPDATE 7:55 pm – The two candidates agreed on the crucial importance of defending voting rights. Herring talked about his voter protection team, working to make sure Virginians’ right to vote is protected. Jones noted that this issue is personal and important to him, because he has ancestors who had to pay poll taxes and had their right to vote abridged or denied, which drives home how important this issue is to him. He called for having a dedicated voter protection unit in the AG’s office.
UPDATE 7:53 pm – The two candidates agreed on the importance of protecting kids on the internet.
UPDATE 7:50 pm – Jones said he’s always been opposed to the death penalty, also charges that Herring apologized “without any empathy” on “blackface.” Jones said he doesn’t appreciate being “lecture[d]” about criminal justice and said he’s “insulted” Herring would try to say anything otherwise. Herring said he’s made protecting and expanding civil rights a cornerstone of his office. Herring said Jones “wouldn’t work with us in 2019 to make [a civil rights division] a permanent part of our office.” Herring said Jones’ bill would have been the “biggest rollback of civil rights in modern Virginia history” and charged that Jones “gets it wrong and makes wrong choices like that.”
UPDATE 7:48 pm – Both candidates said that Democrats have passed good, progressive bills that Virginians support.
UPDATE 7:44 pm – AG Herring charged that Del. Jones’ death penalty bill was “flawed, it had gaping holes in it,” adding that the AG office “caught it…reviewed it…fixed it and made sure that it got done right.” Jones said Herring voted 16 times to preserve the death penalty, that he was against repealing it before he was for it, and that this is another example of doing things when they’re politically popular. Herring said that as recently as last year, Jones said he would “support lethal injection as a last resort,” and that he “introduced legislation that didn’t get the job done right,” and “this is a pattern we have seen with Del. Jones…continues to make mistakes…at critical moments.” Jones said “there he goes again,” that Herring had been using his office to defend the state to “keep those processes secret.” Jones said he will never pick and choose when to step up.
UPDATE 7:38 pm – The two candidates agree that there’s a gun violence problem in Virginia and that we need to do something about it. Herring said he took on the gun lobby and is supported by Brady, Giffords and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. Jones said there was a radical Republican ticket that will do whatever it can to roll back gun violence prevention laws…and he looks forward to fighting the Republicans on this.
UPDATE 7:34 pm – AG Herring charged that Del. Jones had basically taken a bunch of things the AG’s office is already doing on criminal justice reform and put it in his own plan. Jones said he has a forward-looking criminal justice reform plan, including ending qualified immunity, that looks forward and leans in, doesn’t just wait until the issue is politically popular. Herring charged that Jones had an opportunity to support survivors of domestic violence/abuse but “didn’t take it, you sided with the abusers and voted against a stronger protective order law.”
UPDATE 7:21 pm – This has been fairly contentious so far. Basically, Herring has gone after Jones for having “sided with payday lenders to take advantage of the most vulnerable communities in Virginia…allow predatory lenders to charge up to 350% interest.” For his part, Jones has gone after Herring saying he is “disturb[ed]…that our Attorney General has fallen silent when these challenges face us,” that “[w]e need a leader, not a follower and Mark Herring has not been a leader in this space at all.” Jones also brought up “blackface,” while Herring basically charged that Jones has been ineffective and “quiet as a church mouse” on important issues.
ON THE EVE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL DEBATE, HERRING MAKES HIS CASE FOR A THIRD TERM WITH DAILY KOS
“You couldn’t get Democrats to speak up for marriage equality, the immigrant community, or run on a platform of strong gun safety laws, or marijuana legalization, until I led on those things.”
RICHMOND, Va. – Attorney General Mark Herring enters tonight’s debate continuing to make the case for re-election, outlining how Virginia’s political landscape has transformed under his leadership in an interview with Kellen Squire and the Daily Kos.
“You couldn’t get Democrats to speak up for marriage equality, the immigrant community, or run on a platform of strong gun safety laws, or marijuana legalization, until I led on those things,” said Attorney General Mark Herring. “We’ve achieved progressive reforms that both Democrats and Republicans alike thought were impossible, and we cannot take these victories for granted. I will always be an Attorney General that leads on the toughest fights, taking up the mantle for Virginians who need it most.”
Attorney General Mark Herring won a landmark court ruling for marriage equality for LGBTQ Virginians, defended Virginians’ civil rights, women’s healthcare, and Affordable Care Act protections. He’s tackled policing and criminal justice reform, eliminated Virginia’s rape kit backlog, holds opioid manufacturers accountable, addresses systemic discrimination in schools, protects immigrant rights, leads the charge on gun reform, and even filed a landmark suit to get the ERA into the Constitution.
Read the full Daily Kos profile on Herring’s pro worker, pro civil rights, and pro criminal justice reform agenda here.