RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — In a few weeks, Virginia will elect an attorney general. The two choices on Nov. 7: a Democratic incumbent trying to hold on to his position and a Republican who’s never held office but says he’s ready for it.
Capitol bureau reporter Evanne Armour is sitting down one-on-one with both nominees.
Attorney General Mark Herring says he has the best job he can think of.
“I’m the kind of person that, when I see a problem, I want to fix it,” he said.
That’s why the Democrat wants to get elected for another term.
“Sometimes in this job, you get to help a lot of people with one really significant case. Then other times it’s helping people one person at a time,” said Herring.
During his last four years in office, he said three efforts stand out to him.
One is returning tens of millions of dollars to taxpayers through his Medicaid Fraud Unit.
Another is transforming how Virginia responds to sexual and domestic violence.
“When I came into office, there were over 2,000 untested rape kits on evidence shelves collecting dust,” he said. “That meant perpetrators could be out there, it means that survivors are not getting the justice that they deserve.”
He launched a program to help eliminate the backlog.
“I’m not going to stop until every kit is tested, survivors know the results and every case gets a fresh look,” he said.
Herring also notes his efforts to fight the heroin and opioid crisis.
His opponent, Republican John Adams, has pointed out that the epidemic has only getting worse during Herring’s term.
Herring said it’s evolving.
“The problem from a year ago looks different than it does today and it’s going to look different a year from now,” he said. “For example, fentanyl — which is incredibly powerful and could kill in microscopic amounts — is now getting mixed in with heroin and being sold on the street.”
Adams has also criticized Herring by saying he picks and chooses which laws to enforce, politicizing the office.
“All of the actions that I have taken as attorney general have been firmly grounded in the law,” Herring said in response to that criticism.
While the Republican in the race believes the office needs a fresh face, Herring believes he deserves more time.
“I’m really proud of what my team has been able to do. There’s still work to do and that’s why I would like to keep this work going forward,” he said.
The two candidates will debate Friday morning in Northern Virginia.