- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 2, 2020

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring is running for reelection, forgoing a gubernatorial bid he’d previously announced.

Herring, a Democrat, declined to comment through a spokesman. But he called several elected officials Wednesday and told him of his plans to run for a third term.

“It’s a good thing he’s decided to remain in public service,” said Del. Charniele Herring, the House majority leader, who said the attorney general informed her Wednesday that he was running again. She is not related to the attorney general.

The attorney general told the Washington Post in 2018 that he was planning to run for governor in the 2021 election.

Herring is a former state senator who became attorney general in 2014. He easily won reelection in 2017 as voters unhappy with President Donald Trump gave Democrats a huge boost at the polls.

Herring has been a frequent critic of the president and a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage, immigrant-friendly policies and stricter gun control. He was one of three high-ranking Democrats caught up in a wave of scandals last year when he acknowledged he had worn blackface in college.

Since then, Herring has posted lackluster fundraising totals and his future in public office has been unclear. Del. Jay Jones, also a Democrat, has announced plans to run for attorney general.

Jones, who said Herring also called him Wednesday to say he was running for reelection, said voters are looking for new leadership.

“We’re experiencing a moment nationwide that truly represents the urgent need for change and real, diverse representation for every voter in the commonwealth,” Jones said.

Herring’s entrance into the race raises the possibility that at least two-thirds of the Democratic statewide ticket in 2021 could be a repeat of the 2013 ticket. Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe has also indicated he may run for his old job.

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