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Why Mark Herring plans to seek re-election as Attorney General of Virginia

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RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced he planned to run for re-election in 2017. Herring’s announcement, more than two years before the election, helps clear the way for Virginia Lt. Governor Ralph Northam to seek the state’s highest office without interference from his fellow Democrat.

The Democrats’ strategy differs from what the GOP did in 2013 when then-Virginia Lt. Governor Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, both Republicans, initially expressed interest in running for Governor of Virginia.

Bolling ended his pursuit of the executive mansion when it became apparent Cuccinelli would win the nomination at the Republican convention. Cuccinelli went on to lose the election to current Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.

“This is an unexpected development,” WTVR CBS 6 political analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth remarked. “Herring had actually developed a far higher profile in the last two years than the Lieutenant Governor through his support for many issues dear to the heart of Democratic activists and would not have been easy to defeat in a Democratic Party primary. His decision to forego a campaign for Governor, to run again for Attorney General and to support Northam’s gubernatorial quest will surely come as a surprise to many Democrats.”

Herring becomes the first Virginia Attorney General to seek re-election since Democrat Mary Sue Terry won re-election in 1989.

“It certainly positions Ralph Northam as the front runner for the Democratic nomination,” Holsworth said. “The only question is whether any other Democrat will now feel free to step up and challenge the Lieutenant Governor in 2017.”