Justin Fairfax

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Justin Fairfax
Justin Fairfax.jpg
Former candidate for
Attorney General of Virginia
High schoolDeMatha Catholic High School
Bachelor'sDuke University
J.D.Columbia Law School
ProfessionAttorney, Small Business Owner
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Justin Fairfax is prosecutor and former 2013 Democratic candidate for Attorney General of Virginia.[1] He lost to state Sen. Mark Herring in the primary election on June 11, 2013.[2][3]


Fairfax is a former assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, having served as deputy of the Major Crimes & Narcotics Unit and on the Human Trafficking Task Force. Aside from working as a federal prosecutor, Fairfax and his wife also own a dental practice.

Fairfax holds degrees in Public Policy and Law from Duke University and Columbia Law School, respectively. While studying at Columbia, he was chosen to be on the Columbia Law Review.[4]


  • DeMatha Catholic High School
  • A.B. in Public Policy Studies - Duke University
  • J.D. Columbia Law School



See also: Virginia attorney general election, 2013

Fairfax ran for election to the office of Attorney General. He sought the Democratic nomination in [3] the primary election on June 11, 2013, but was defeated by state Sen. Mark Herring.

Race background

In March 2013, Governing magazine rated Virginia's open attorney general seat as "vulnerable" heading into the 2013-2014 elections because incumbent Republican Ken Cuccinelli was not running for re-election.[3]

The race to replace Cuccinelli began at the primary nomination stage; both Republican convention and Democratic election candidates drew primary contests. On May 18, two "strong fiscal and social conservatives"[3] -- state Sen. Mark Obenshain and state Rep. Rob Bell -- competed for delegate votes at the Republican Party of Virginia's closed nominating convention, which Obenshain won.[5] The nominee's late father, GOP politician Richard Obenshain, died in a plane crash during his 1978 campaign for U.S. Senate. Obenshain faced state Sen. Mark Herring in the general election. Herring defeated former assistant U.S. Attorney for Virginia Justin Fairfax in the Democratic primary election, which took place on June 11, 2013.[6][3]

Although Obenshain was considered the early front-runner, polls showed Herring leading by a very slim margin in late October 2013, a likely effect, or occupational hazard, for Obenshain, of sharing what had become a contaminated GOP ticket. One week before election day, at least two influential backers - Planned Parenthood and Independence USA PAC - hoped to widen the gap with roughly one million dollars worth of media spots lampooning Obenshain for his past support of a "personhood" amendment, which would have banned birth control and abortions regardless of the circumstances," in addition to his stance against increased background checks on prospective gun owners. Independence USA PAC was heavily driven by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The PAC had already invested millions into ads hammering "far-right" Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli for his affiliation with the National Rifle Assocation (NRA), and the buys against Obenshain sought to lump the lesser-known AG contender together with Cuccinelli, who was the most recognizable, and possiblly most troubled, candidate appearing on the party's statewide ticket in 2013. Meanwhile, the NRA went on the counterattack; the organization unleashed a $500,000 anti-Herring ad into targeted Virginia markets.[7][8] The NRA's assistance paled in comparison, however, to the $2.6 million infusion from the Republican State Leadership Committee into the effort to elect Obenshain, whom the committee viewed as the only hope for preventing Democrats from scoring a clean sweep of the state-row races in 2013.[9]

  • Primary election - 2013 Attorney General Race
Attorney General of Virginia Democratic Primary Election, 2013
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngMark Herring 51.7% 72,861
Justin Fairfax 48.3% 68,177
Total Votes 141,038
Election Results via Virginia State Board of Elections.


Fairfax's 2013 attorney general campaign was endorsed by The Washington Post and Sen. Tim Kaine’s 2012 U.S. Senate Campaign Treasurer and Virginia Businessman Warren Thompson.[10][11]

Primary election polls

Attorney General of Virginia - 2013 Democratic Primary Race
Poll Justin Fairfax Mark HerringUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Public Policy Polling
(May 24-28, 2013)
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org.

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