Top Democrats in Virginia House of Delegates endorse Mark Herring in AG race

Capitol Connection

Virginia Attorney Mark Herring in 2014. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The top two Democrats in the Virginia House of Delegates have endorsed Attorney General Mark Herring (D) as he seeks a third term in office, backing him over a fellow state delegate challenging Herring in the June primary.

Virginia House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax) and House Majority Leader Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria) both announced they were backing Herring’s reelection bid this month, with Filler-Corn’s endorsement coming Monday.

Filler-Corn, the first woman to serve as speaker in the Virginia House, credited Herring’s work on the most consequential issues facing Virginians when announcing her decision to support his reelection campaign.

“Whether its fighting to expand health care access, protecting seniors from fraud, working to reduce gun violence, or working to combat sexual violence on college campuses – we can always count on Mark Herring to stand up and fight for what is right,” Filler-Corn said in a statement.

Del. Herring, the first woman and first African American to serve as House Leader, announced her support for AG Herring in a video released on March 2.

“Mark Herring really does care. He’s not just about the talk, he walks the walk,” Leader Herring, who has no relation to the AG, said in the video. “He’s led on criminal justice reform and ending police violence, he’s fought the Trump administration to protect our health care, ending the Muslim ban, won on marriage equality and fought Confederate propaganda.”

AG Herring was expected to vacate his office for a gubernatorial run in 2021, even confirming the plans to The Washington Post in 2018, before officially announcing his reelection campaign in December 2020. Del. Jerrauld C. “Jay” Jones (D-Norfolk) announced his campaign to be Virginia’s next attorney general in July, saying he would remain in the race after Herring’s decision.

If elected, Del. Jones would become the first African American to serve as Virginia’s AG. While he remains far behind in an early poll, Jones did snag an endorsement from Gov. Ralph Northam (D) earlier this month.

Northam, who can’t run for back-to-back terms under the state constitution, called for “a new generation of leaders to take the reins” when he announced his endorsement of Jones for attorney general over Herring.

Rich Meagher, a political science professor at Randolph-Macon College, said early endorsements don’t necessarily translate to votes after Northam endorsed Jones on March 4. “It’s not about voters. It’s about donors, it’s about who is viable in the Democratic Party,” Meagher said then.

Voters will decide during the June 8 Democratic primary whether Herring or Jones will be the party’s nominee for attorney general.

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