Delegate Jay Jones (D-Norfolk) picked up a big endorsement in the race for Attorney General this week. Governor Ralph Northam chose to endorse Jones instead of incumbent Attorney General Mark Herring, Northam’s former running mate.
“We have made lasting progressive change over the last four years from Medicaid Expansion to abolishing the death penalty to criminal justice reform, but it is time for a new generation of leaders to take the reins,” Northam said in his first endorsement of the election cycle.
“Jay Jones has stood with me every step of the way in our journey to make Virginia a more just and equitable place to live. He has been my partner as we have worked to change our Commonwealth. He also understands the deep scars of racism and will represent the diversity of our Commonwealth. That is why I’m honored to endorse him in his race for Attorney General,” Northam said.
In a Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial, Jeff Schapiro argued that Northam’s endorsement is payback to Herring. Herring called for Northam to resign due to a blackface scandal that broke in February 2019; shortly afterwards, Herring faced his own blackface scandal.
Herring has picked up endorsements from other major Virginia Democrats like House of Delegates Majority Leader Charniele Herring, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA-08), Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA-12), and leading Virginia Senate Democrats, including Senator Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth), Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax), and Senator Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax.)
The Democratic Attorney General contest currently has high amounts of undecided voters. In a CNU/Wason Center poll from last month, Attorney General Mark Herring had the lead with 42 percent, while Jones had just three percent.
In the Republican race for nominees, the poll found 68 percent of voters are undecided, with Chuck Smith leading at just ten percent. Smith touts endorsements including Kimberly Klacik, and Bishop E.W. Jackson.
Delegate Jason Miyares (R-Virginia Beach) has picked up endorsements from former governors George Allen and Bob McDonnell, as well as a number of General Assembly members. Miyares spent the recent General Assembly session warning that legislators were forgetting about victims as they considered more criminal reform legislation.
He and Chesterfield County Supervisor Leslie Haley recently blasted the Virginia Parole Board. “This is another example of an absolute failure by Virginia’s parole boards to protect the people of our Commonwealth. For too long, elected Democrats like [Attorney General Mark Herring] and [Governor Ralph Northam] in this state have accepted the status quo which has endangered all Virginians,” Haley said in a recent press release.
Haley’s endorsements include a long list of Richmond-area county officials, including Sheriff Karl Leonard.
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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Digital Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photos “Del. Jay Jones” by Del. Jay Jones and “Virginia House of Delegates” by Antony-22 CC4.0.