In his bid for the Virginia attorney general’s office in 2013, state Sen. Mark Herring (D-33rd) secured a key endorsement today from Northern Virginia Democrat Mike Signer, a former counsel to U.S. Sen. Mark Warner during Warner’s days as governor.
Signer, the chairman of New Dominion Project political action committee, was considering a run for the attorney general post himself, but he said he wanted to avoid a potentially splitting primary. The New Dominion Project promotes “innovation, reform, and unity in Virginia,” according to its website.
An attorney and national security expert, Signer ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 2009.
“I was flattered when Democratic leaders around Virginia asked me last year to consider a run for attorney general,” Signer said in a prepared statement. “I began exploring a campaign this summer and was gratified to receive support from Democratic officials and activists from across Virginia. However, faced with a potentially costly and divisive primary, I have decided to do what I believe is best for our party and, therefore, I will not be running for attorney general in 2013.”
Signer also noted he’s been impressed with Herring’s campaign thus far.
Herring, a Leesburg resident who represents portions of Loudoun and Fairfax counties in the Virginia Senate, said he’s grateful to nab the endorsement.
“I look forward to working with [Signer] in this campaign to take politics out of the attorney general’s office and return the focus of the office to doing what is right for the people of Virginia,” Herring said.
Herring has been quick to bemoan the firebrand style of current attorney general Ken Cuccinelli.
Cuccinelli has made state and national headlines with his subpoena-style demand for a University of Virginia researcher’s records regarding environmental science. The tea party darling has been a leading voice against President Barack Obama’s health care law, filing suit against the federal government over so-called ‘Obamacare’—a lawsuit that was eventually thrown out. Additionally, he pressed legal action against the Environmental Protection Agency for its finding that greenhouse gases affect public health.
“With the Republican Party poised to nominate another ideological firebrand to succeed Ken Cuccinelli, it is critical that Democrats come together around a nominee with experience and a record of legislative accomplishment and electoral success if we are going to retake this office for the first time since 1989,” Herring said.
A native Virginian, Herring began his political career in 1999 when he was elected to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. In 2006, Herring won a special election to the Virginia senate over Republican Mick Staton. The 33rd District seat was previously held by Bill Mims, who vacated to serve in the attorney general’s office and currently serves on the Supreme Court of Virginia.
For the 2013 election, one other Democrat, Annandale lawyer Justin Fairfax, has officially announced an attorney general candidacy.
On the Republican side, state Sen. Mark Obenshain, Del. Robert Bell and Fairfax County Circuit Court Clerk John Frey have announced plans to seek the post as Virginia’s top attorney.
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