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The quest by Del. Jay Jones (D-Norfolk) to unseat Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring in the June 8 primary may seem to be fading in homestretch, but he retains a strong supporter in Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington).
“Working alongside Jay Jones for the last four years, I have seen someone who is dedicated to fighting for justice,” Hope said in a statement released by the Jones campaign in conjunction with the candidate’s rollout of what was touted as a criminal-justice-reform plan.
“We need a real leader in the Attorney General’s Office who will move the ball forward on justice-reform issues, and be proactive rather than reactive,” said Hope, who suggested Herring has been “silent and inactive” during eight years in office.
But the Herring campaign is working to parry the thrust of Jones’s supporters, rolling out a list of 14 members of the House of Delegates supporting the incumbent.
Among them are Arlington Dels. Alfonso Lopez and Rip Sullivan. Herring “is the most progressive attorney general in Virginia’s history,” Sullivan said in race that, like most Democratic nominating contests, has evolved into an effort to secure and hold the party’s left flank.
Herring has “broken ground on women’s rights, marriage equality, criminal-justice reform and many other issues of vital importance to Virginians,” Sullivan said.
“We need him,” added Lopez, who termed Herring “one of my strongest allies” and a “hero” to Latinos and immigrants.
Herring was a member of the Virginia Senate from Loudoun County when he first won election as attorney general in 2013. He secured a second term in 2017 and, after toying with the idea of running for governor, opted to seek what would be a record third term as attorney general in 2021.
The winner of the Herring-Jones showdown will face off against Del. Jason Miyares – like Jones, a legislator from Hampton Roads – who has secured the Republican nomination for attorney general.