Attorney General candidate visits Suffolk

Published 10:21 pm Wednesday, July 3, 2013

About 30 people turned out Tuesday evening to meet Mark Herring, the Democratic candidate for attorney general.

Herring came through town and stopped at a West Washington Street building where supporters had gathered. He spoke to the small crowd about how the campaign is going and why he believes they should choose him over Republican nominee Mark Obenshain.

“We have an opportunity to meet with volunteers and tell them a little bit about why this is so important,” Herring said before the event started. “We’re enthusiastic about our ticket.”


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The Democratic lineup for November also includes gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe and lieutenant governor hopeful Ralph Northam.

Herring is from Loudoun County and attended the University of Richmond School of Law, thereafter establishing a law practice in Leesburg. He currently specializes in business and corporate matters, land use, zoning, municipal law and civil litigation.

Herring has served on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors and was elected to the state Senate in 2006, where he has had the chance to observe his Republican opponent.

“Mark Obenshain has pursued a radical agenda, attacking women’s rights, voting rights and steadfastly opposing commonsense solutions to reduce gun violence,” he said.

Herring said his fellow senator supported a bill that would require women to report miscarriages to police within 24 hours “like they were a potential criminal.”

“I think Virginia is ready to reject that kind of extremism,” Herring said. “I will stand up and defend women’s rights and make sure they have the right to make their own private health care decisions.”

In a response, the Obenshain campaign said Herring has continually misrepresented the bill during the campaign.

The bill Herring referred to, SB 962 in 2009, was carried by Obenshain at the request of the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Rockingham County. That locality saw a case in which a college student admitted to giving birth and then disposing of the child’s remains in a Dumpster, according to the response by Obenshain spokesman Paul Logan that quoted the prosecutor of the case, Marsha Garst.

The woman claimed the child had been stillborn, and the remains were never recovered despite an extensive search, so it was impossible to determine whether the child had been born alive. Garst learned nothing in state code allowed her to pursue the case further and asked Obenshain for help, she said in the information provided by Logan.

With filing deadlines approaching, Obenshain introduced the bill with the intention of fine-tuning the language during the session. However, he ultimately dropped the bill after concluding that any bill addressing situations similar to the Rockingham case “would have unintended consequences for women suffering a miscarriage,” Garst said in Logan’s statement.

In his speech Tuesday, Herring also said Obenshain voted against requiring background checks at gun shows and attacked the current Republican administration for what he called “lapses in ethical judgment.”

“It’s unfortunate that Herring continues to run a campaign based on deliberate distortions and false attacks,” Logan said in an emailed response. “Senator Obenshain will continue to address the issues that voters care about, like standing up to regulations that would kill jobs and drive up energy prices for working Virginians.”

Herring said he would focus on assisting McAuliffe and Northam in their agenda of economic development, education and transportation solutions.

Election Day this year is

Nov. 5.