Virginia State Sen. Mark Herring (D-33rd), one of two Democrats vying for the state Attorney General seat, accused two Republican contenders as being "Cuccinelli clones," and to expect an extreme conservative ideology should one of them get elected.
"Del. Rob Bell (R-Charlottesville) and state Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) — they would be Cuccinelli clones," said Herring on Wednesday to about 40 members of the Greenspring Retirement Community Democratic Club in Springfield. "They think Ken Cuccinelli has done a great job. I think the only complaint they have with him is that he wasn't extreme enough."
Greenspring is home to 1,800 registered voters, and since 89 percent of them voted in the last presidential election, the retirement community is an important campaign stop for state and local candidates.
Herring, 51, narrowly won a straw poll last month against his primary opponent, Democrat Justin Fairfax, at Rep. Gerry Connolly's (D-11th) 19th Annual St. Patrick's Day Fete.
Herring is leading in campaign contributions $407,529 to Fairfax's $292,183, according to recently released figures from the Virginia Public Access Project.
Herring on McDonnell and Cuccinelli
"There has been way too much politics in that [Attorney General's] office," said Herring. "Time and again we have seen Ken Cuccinelli misstate and misuse the law in order to impose policies on Virginians that are outside the mainstream."
Herring has called for a federal investigation of Cuccinelli (who is running for governor) about his financial dealings with Star Scientific, Inc. and McDonnell for receiving gifts from the company.
"First we find out that the Attorney General owns stock in this company and that it's in litigation with the state over a $700,000 tax assessment. Well, he should have recused himself. And then he didn't disclose his ownership interest, which he should have done.
"Then we find out that the company gave $15,000 to the governor's daughter's wedding. The governor said he had no need to report it because it was a gift to the daughter," Herring said.
Herring said that Cuccinelli is a "climate change denier," and cited Cuccinelli's actions in suing for the records of a University of Virginia professor. Cuccinelli, in 2010, requested the emails and files of a former professor there who received state grants to study global warming.
Herring on healthcare
If elected, Herring said that he would work to help implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in Virginia.
Earlier this month, the Virginia general assembly approved a measure by McDonnell that prohibits certain health insurance companies from providing coverage for women seeking an abortion.
“Women should be able to make decisions about their own health care without interference from politicians here in the state Capitol,” said Herring.
Herring also announced the formation of "Women for Herring" on Wednesday, a group of supporters comprised of more than Virginia 100 female political leaders. Read more about that here.
About Mark Herring
Herring, who lives in Leesburg, was elected to the state Senate in a 2006 special election, and was reelected in 2007 and 2011. He previously represented Leesburg as a supervisor on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. He's a graduate of the University of Richmond School of Law, and also has degrees from the University of Virginia in economics and foreign affairs. He's married and has two children.
The Democratic primary for the Attorney General seat will be held June 11.