- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 2, 2021

Former Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli said the choice could not be starker on who should be the state’s next top law enforcement officer. 

Mr. Cuccinelli, who served in the position between 2010 and 2014, said crime is a top issue in the race between Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat seeking his third term, and GOP candidate Jason Miyares.

“Crime is a focal point in that race, and they are very opposite,” Mr. Cuccinelli told The Washington Times. “Virginia has been going in a very bad direction.”

Mr. Cuccinelli, who also served in the Department of Homeland Security under the Trump administration, accused Mr. Herring of using the office in an unconstitutional manner.

For example, the former attorney general zeroed in on Mr. Herring’s refusal to uphold the state’s previous ban on same-sex marriage shortly after he took office. 

Mr. Herring, who asserted that Virginia must “be on the right side of history” was criticized at the time by opponents who said he had a duty to uphold the law in his position as attorney general.

“As attorney general, I had to defend gun regulations that I didn’t like, but they were legal, and they were defensible,” Mr. Cuccinelli said. “I did my duty, and I defended them. And Republicans and Democrats, as attorneys general, have always done that until Mark Herring.”

Mr. Herring has invoked Mr. Cuccinelli in his campaign, comparing Mr. Miyares to the former attorney general who he painted as a conservative extremist.

“In this election, voters will have a clear and stark voice between my proven record of protecting Virginians and expanding rights and my Republican opponent who is an anti-health care, anti-LGBTQ, anti-choice, pro-NRA, Cuccinelli-style conservative,” Mr. Herring said at a July rally with Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe and President Biden.

Mr. Cuccinelli dismissed the attack, flipping the allegations of political shifting on Mr. Herring.

“When [Herring] was in the state Senate, he was pretty close to the middle,” Mr. Cuccinelli said. “I haven’t moved anywhere, but Mark has gone way to the left to appease his radical base. So, he’s the one who has moved and is pandering, not me.”

A September poll by 8News/Emerson College poll had Mr. Herring leading 47% to Mr. Miyares‘s 41%. 

The poll, conducted between Sept. 13-14, surveyed 778 likely Virginia voters and carried an error margin of +/- 3.4%.

• Mica Soellner can be reached at msoellner@washingtontimes.com.

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