RICHMOND (AP) Randolph A. Beales, the acting attorney general, received the General Assembly’s overwhelming support yesterday to serve in the job for the next six months.
Mr. Beales, 41, was elected on unanimous votes in the House of Delegates and Senate to serve out the term of Mark L. Earley, who stepped down as attorney general last month after he won the Republican nomination for governor. Before he left, Mr. Earley appointed Mr. Beales his interim successor.
The legislature’s Joint Republican Caucus endorsed Mr. Beales Monday night over David E. Anderson, a partner with Richmond’s McGuireWoods law firm.
Endorsement by the caucus is considered tantamount to selection by the GOP-dominated assembly.
Mr. Beales, 41, told members of the House and Senate Courts of Justice committees earlier Monday that his appointment would provide continuity in the attorney general’s office.
He cited the ongoing lawsuits against the state filed by a small tobacco company challenging the 1998 tobacco settlement agreement, and deregulation of the electricity industry.
“I think that the familiarity with the matters before the office would give me a leg up over anyone,” Mr. Beales said.
He also said he would combat Internet-related crimes, including child pornography, and prosecute polluters.
Mr. Anderson, 44, was former counsel to Gov. James S. Gilmore III and chief deputy attorney general when Mr. Gilmore was the state’s top lawyer from 1994 to 1997.
“I wish Randy well and hope his time as attorney general is successful,” Mr. Anderson said after hearing of the endorsement by the caucus. “I ran because I thought I had unique qualifications and could do a good job.”
He said he would continue to serve on the steering committee that advises Mr. Earley’s campaign.
Mr. Anderson was the more controversial of the applicants following recent newspaper reports that his work as a lobbyist could result in conflicts of interest.
Earlier Monday, Mr. Anderson told the joint justice committee members that his experience in private practice “is a net plus” that gave him better knowledge of the problems facing some of the state’s largest employers.
“And when you discover you have a potential conflict, you recuse yourself,” Mr. Anderson said.
Mr. Anderson was registered as a lobbyist for Dominion Resources, the state’s largest utility, and a trash-hauling firm that successfully challenged a state ban on dumping out-of-state garbage in Virginia landfills.