Mark Herring

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Mark Herring
Mark Herring.jpg
Current candidacy
Running for Virginia attorney general election, 2013
General electionNovember 5, 2013
Current office
Virginia Senate District 33
In office
2006 - Present
Term ends
January 11, 2016
Years in position 9
Base salary$18,000/year
Per diem$178/day
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 8, 2011
First elected2005
Next generalNovember 3, 2015
Term limitsN/A
Date of birth09/25/1961
Place of birthJohnson City, TN
Office website
Campaign website
Mark Herring has been a Democratic member of the Virginia State Senate since 2006, representing the 33rd district. He is a current Democratic candidate for state attorney general in 2013.[1] Herring defeated Justin Fairfax in the Democratic primary election on June 11, 2013 and will face Republican nominee Mark Obenshain in the general election.[2] The general election which will take place on November 5, 2013.


Herring received a B.A. in Foreign Affairs and Economics and M.A. in Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia. He also received a J.D. at the University of Richmond. Herring is a member of the Leesburg Presbyterian Church.

In addition to serving as senator Herring works as an attorney at law.

Committee assignments


In the 2012-2013 legislative session, Herring served on the following committees:


In the 2010-2011 legislative session, Herring served on the following committees:

District 33

Herring represents Virginia Senate District 33. Senate District 33 includes Fairfax County(part), Loudoun County(part).



See also: Virginia attorney general election, 2013

On July 24, 2012, Herring filed paperwork with the secretary of state in statement of his plans to run for attorney general in 2013. Current officeholder Ken Cuccinelli announced in December that he would seek the governorship in 2013 instead of another term as the state's chief law enforcement official.[1]

Herring defeated one opponent, Justin Fairfax, to win the Democratic primary election on June 11, 2013. He will face Republican nominee Mark Obenshain in the general election, which will be held on November 5, 2013.

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.[4] 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.[5][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.[6][7] 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.[8]

  • 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.

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


Herring's 2013 attorney general campaign has been endorsed by former Virginia House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong, former Virginia Democratic Party Chairman Brian Moran, and the following public officials:[9][10]

  • Members of the State Senate:

Sen. George Barker (Fairfax)
Sen. Chuck Colgan (Prince William)
Sen. Adam Ebbin (Alexandria)
Sen. John Edwards (Roanoke)
Sen. Barbara Favola (Arlington)
Fmr. Sen. Edd Houck (Spotsylvania)
Sen. Janet Howell (Fairfax)
Sen. Mamie Locke (Hampton)
Sen. Louise Lucas (Portsmouth)
Sen. Dave Marsden (Fairfax)
Sen. Henry Marsh (Richmond)
Sen. Donald McEachin (Henrico)
Sen. John Miller (Newport News)
Sen. Phil Puckett (Russell)
Fmr. Sen. Patsy Ticer (Alexandria)
Fmr. Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple (Arlington)

  • Members of the House of Delegates:

Fmr. Del. Ward Armstrong (Henry)
Del. Mayme BaCote (Newport News)
Del. Bob Brink (Arlington)
Del. David Bulova (Fairfax)
Del. Eileen Filler-Corn (Fairfax)
Del. Charniele Herring (Alexandria)
Del. Patrick Hope (Arlington)
Del. Algie Howell (Norfolk)
Del. Matthew James (Portsmouth)
Del. Joe Johnson (Abingdon)
Del. Rob Krupicka (Alexandria)
Del. Alfonso Lopez (Alexandria)
Del. Delores McQuinn (Richmond)
Del. Joe Morrissey (Henrico)
Del. Ken Plum (Fairfax)
Del. Mark Sickles (Fairfax)
Del. Lionell Spruill (Chesapeake)
Del. David Toscano (Charlottesville)
Del. Luke Torian (Prince William)
Fmr. Del. Katherine Waddell (Richmond)
Del. Vivian Watts (Fairfax)

  • Mayors:

Hon. David Bowers (Roanoke)
Hon. Trent Crewe (Wytheville)
Hon. Paul Fraim (Norfolk)
Hon. Michael Gillette (Lynchburg)
Hon. Earnie Porta (Occoquan)
Hon. Kristen Umstattd (Leesburg)
Hon. Molly Ward (Hampton)

  • County Supervisors:

Fmr. Sup. Hon. Susan Buckley (Loudoun)
Hon. John Foust (Fairfax)
Hon. Penelope Gross (Fairfax)
Hon. Gerald Hyland (Fairfax)
Hon. John Jenkins (Prince William)
Hon. Fred Luntsford (Wise)
Hon. Jeff McKay (Fairfax)
Hon. Tyrone Nelson (Henrico)
Fmr. Sup. Hon. John Peace (Wise)
Hon. Frank Principi (Prince William)
Hon. Ronnie Short (Wise)
Hon. Frank Thornton (Henrico)

For a complete list of Herring's endorsements, visit his official campaign website.


See also: Virginia State Senate elections, 2011

On November 8, 2011, Herring won re-election to District 33 of the Virginia State Senate. He was unchallenged in the August 23 primary and defeated Patricia Phillips in the November 8 general election.[11]

Virginia State Senate, District 33 General Election, 2011
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngMark Herring Incumbent 54.1% 14,061
     Republican Patricia Phillips 45.9% 11,915
Total Votes 25,976


On Nov. 6, 2007, Herring won re-election to the 33rd District Seat in the Virginia State Senate, defeating opponent Patricia Phillips (R).[12]

Herring raised $1,059,654 for his campaign while Phillips raised $194,645.[13]

Virginia State Senate, District 33 (2007)
Candidates Votes Percent
Green check mark transparent.png Mark Herring (D) 27,784 56.89%
Patricia Phillips (R) 20,994 42.99%

Campaign donors


In 2011, Herring received $723,937 in campaign donations. The top contributors are listed below.[14]

Virginia State Senate 2011 election - Campaign Contributions
Top contributors to Mark Herring's campaign in 2011
Virginia Democratic Party$210,637
Bloomberg, Michael R$25,000
Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc$20,000
America Online$17,500
Clarke-Hook Real Estate$12,907
Total Raised in 2011 $723,937
Total Votes received in 2011 14,061
Cost of each vote received $51.49


Below are Herring's top 5 campaign contributors in the 2007 election:

Contributor 2007 total
Democratic Party of Virginia $233,805
One Virginia $45,000
Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus $35,374
Leadership for Virginia $35,000
Moving Virginia Forward $22,671


Campaign themes


Herring's campaign website lists the following issues:

  • Economic Development & Job Creation
Excerpt: "Innovation is a huge driver of economic growth. Science and technology industry jobs pay high wages and have high growth potential. Senator Herring believes we must take every action possible to make sure that those jobs are created in Virginia."
  • Transportation
Excerpt: "As our State Senator, Mark Herring has secured needed state transportation funding for infrastructure projects that have helped to alleviate congestion on some of our area's major roadways."
  • Education
Excerpt: "Senator Herring knows that education is the key to helping children achieve their full potential, ensure that our economy remains strong, and helps to build a workforce that is prepared to compete successfully in a global economy."
  • Open Government
Excerpt: "Senator Herring has been a strong proponent of common sense measures that promote transparency and accountability in government."
  • Military/Veterans Affairs
Excerpt: "Senator Herring strongly believes it is important to honor their service by ensuring that they have the full support of the state and communities throughout our Commonwealth."
  • Energy and Conservation
Excerpt: "Senator Herring believes that Virginia should be a national leader in the production and use of renewable energy."

Banning "Spice"

Herring introduced a bill for the 2011 General Assembly session to ban the synthetic marijuana nicknamed K2 or Spice.

“There’s a reason stores are putting it on their shelves — because teens and young adults are buying it and smoking it,” said Sen. Herring who introduced a bill to ban the substance.

Synthetic marijuana was created in the 1990’s in a lab at Clemson University and has been available for several years, but a nationwide move to ban the substances is only now gaining ground.

If the bill passes, Virginia will become the 11th state regulating the product.

Del. T. Scott Garrett, R-Lynchburg, said he became concerned with “K2” after hearing reports from law enforcement about people coming into the emergency room after smoking it.

One young man was “taken to the emergency room and couldn’t move his arms and legs,” Garrett said.[15]


Herring was born in Johnson City, Tennessee on September 25, 1961. Herring is married to Laura Herring.

External links

Suggest a link


Political offices
Preceded by
W. Mims
Virginia Senate District 33
Succeeded by