Friday, September 27, 2013

Sen. Mark Herring candidate for AG confident of clean sweep in November

Herring_RVDW5 web

Senator Mark Herring Democratic candidate for Attorney General.

Senator Mark Herring, the Democratic candidate for Virginia Attorney General suffers along with other down ticket Virginia candidates in name recognition. The gubernatorial candidates Ken Cuccinelli and Terry McAuliffe have sucked the air out of the Lt. Governor and Attorney General races as Herring’s opponent Mark Obenshain admitted.

That may be changing. Senator Herring says he is gaining traction and polls show him up over Obenshain by 2-3 points though his campaign coffers have suffered from a primary contest. Obenshain on the other hand was able to avoid expending campaign dollars. The Republican ticket was chosen through a convention.

Senator Herring’s TV ad has just been released. (See below.)

With only two gubernatorial races in 2013 (New Jersey and Virginia) there has been national attention on the Virginia governor’s race. New Jersey’s Chris Christie’s reelection is a foregone conclusion so Virginia is getting all the national media attention.

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews remarked that Virginia is the bell weather for the rest of the country and as Virginia goes so does the nation. He compared national presidential results with Virginia’s presidential results citing them as almost identical.

Herring_RVDW3 webHerring spoke at the Roanoke Valley Democratic Women’s meeting Friday. He told them that there is too much politics in the current AGs office. He claimed his opponent Mark Obenshain would continue Ken Cuccinelli extreme agenda and that Obenshain once remarked they had a “peas in a pod” philosophically.

“[Obenshain] is running away from his record now,” said Herring. In the Senate he and Ken Cuccinelli cosponsored the “personhood” amendment. He continued sponsoring it in 2011 and voted for it again in 2012. Obenshain voted for changes in women’s healthcare clinics resulting in several closures and supported the ultrasound bill that became fodder for late night comedy.

Obenshain has accused Herring of being negative when highlighting his Senate record. “I don’t think warning voters about differences on the issues is being negative. That’s what campaigns are about,” said Herring. “Past performance in public office is a pretty good indicator of what you’re going to do in the future.”

After the meeting I asked Senator Herring what if anything he could do as attorney general to undo or mitigate the bills passed by the Republicans regarding renovations to women’s health clinics, the incorporation into the state constitution forbidding gay marriage and Photo voter ID (effective in 2014).

Herring said that the public process used to pass regulations on women’s health clinics was flawed. Ken Cuccinelli used incorrect tactics making the Virginia Board of Health think they didn’t have the authority to enact a routine grandfather provision. “Those type of regulations that the guidelines they were taken from say expressly they only apply to new construction. That legal opinion that the board did not have the authority to grandfather existing clinics was ‘blatantly wrong,'” said Herring. “Every set of regulations adopted under that code section has always contained a grandfather provision when applied to new construction.”

Senator Mark Herring

Senator Mark Herring

On Photo voter ID Herring said he would carefully scrutinize the voter suppression bills to see if they have a “discriminatory impact on minority voting.” He said he would stand up against that. Long lines is also a form of disenfranchisement he said.

In Virginia’s constitution as passed by the majority of Virginia voters is that marriage should be between one man and one woman. With the Federal government giving same-sex couples equal rights a lawsuit in Virginia has been brought by a gay couple from Norfolk who were denied a marriage license.

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act though it does not overrule the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, but “calls into question other states bans on gay marriage,” said Herring.

“As I look at it right now I’m skeptical the law can withstand constitutional challenge.” Herring said he would bring together the legal experts within the attorney general’s office and review very carefully the legal reasoning and make a determination on whether the law was constitutional or not – “but ultimately it would be for the courts to decide,” he said.

In 2006 Herring voted to incorporate into Virginia’s constitution that marriage is only between a man and a woman. He said he has since come around like many others and has changed his view.

Sen. Herring has been endorsed by the NOVABizPAC, on behalf of the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce representing 650 businesses having 500,000 employees. Other endorsements include the Northern Virginia Technology Council, the Virginia Association of Realtors, the Virginia Education Association, the Virginia Police Benevolent Association, the Virginian-Pilot newspaper and a growing list of former and current Virginia Republican lawmakers like former Senator John Chichester of Fredericksburg, Senator Russ Potts, Delegate Katherine Waddell and Delegate Jim Dillard.

Herring and Obenshain will face off in another debate in Loudoun County on Wednesday, October 2. It is unclear yet if it will be televised.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Election 2013, Elections, Politics, State Politics

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