Today Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced that he will seek re-election as Attorney General in 2017 rather than run for Governor. Herring has been an amazing ally of the LGBT community since his election in 2013, including but not limited to his role in refusing to defend Virginia's unconstitutional gay marriage ban. For the husband and I, Herring's announcement is welcome news for an added reason: now there will be no contest for the gubernatorial nomination between Herring and Lt. Governor Ralph Northam whom we count as a personal friend. We have supported both men in the past and hosted a fundraiser in our home for Herring in 201 (see the image above) and have already contributed to Northam's 2017 bid for Governor (we have offered to host an event for Northam in our home as well). The Richmond Times-Dispatch has more on Mark Herring's announcement. Here are highlights:
Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced Wednesday that he is running for re-election in 2017, avoiding a divisive fight with Lt. Gov. Ralph S. Northam for the Democratic nomination for governor.
“Our future progress as a commonwealth requires an attorney general who is fiercely and fearlessly committed to promoting justice, equality and opportunity for all Virginians,” Herring told reporters at a news conference on Capitol Square.
Northam said in a statement that Herring, whom he calls “a good friend,” has his full support.
“In just 20 months, Mark has changed the course of our history by fighting for marriage equality, Dreamers, the Chesapeake Bay, and a host of other important issues,” Northam said.
Herring is the first attorney general to seek re-election since Democrat Mary Sue Terry. She won re-election in 1989 and then lost the 1993 contest for governor to Republican George Allen.
“This is great news for Virginia Democrats,” said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. “Parties can still win despite a divisive nominating contest, but it is much easier if you have no fight for the top position and an incumbent anchoring the ticket in the AG spot.”
The Republican Party of Virginia said in a statement that the “new face of crusading liberalism” has decided to run again for attorney general. “Mark Herring has run the Virginia Attorney General’s Office like Barack Obama’s Justice Department. While he promised to get politics out of the office, he has done the exact opposite,” said John Whitbeck, chairman of the state GOP. “Herring has at times refused to enforce Virginia law and instead advanced a Bernie Sanders-style progressive agenda.”
Whitbeck and those in now in control of the Virginia GOP want gays back in the closet and invisible, women barefoot and pregnant and submissive to their husbands, and blacks back living under a defacto Jim Crow regime. As for Hispanics, the Virginia GOP wants them to engage in "self-deportation" to use Mitt Romney's terminology.