Herring is seeking a 3rd term as AG; Miyares stands in his way

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) – Democrat Mark Herring is running for a third term as attorney general, highlighting a progressive record that includes advocating for same-sex marriage, gun control and criminal justice reform.

Republican Jason Miyares, Herring’s opponent in next month’s election, looks at the same record with disdain, calling it “the far-left monopoly that’s been happening in Richmond in recent years.”

Maybe the only thing the candidates agree on is that they disagree so much. As Herring embraces the applause of the Liberals for embracing criminal justice reform in the wake of George Floyd’s death, Miyares describes the Democrat’s work as part of a “criminal-focused mindset of” first, the victim last ”who is out of step with what the Virginians want from their top law enforcement officer.

Herring said he was proud of his crime record, citing his efforts in human trafficking cases, the prosecution of gun crimes and his work to clear a backlog of kits. rape not tested.

“I’m going to stack my public safety record against anyone,” Herring said. “But we also know it’s important to make sure we do everything we can to make police services safer and our criminal justice system fair. We can do both of these things.

Miyares, however, targeted Herring for aligning himself with reformers who wanted to eliminate the cash bond and end qualified immunity, making it difficult to prosecute police for abuse.

“If you end qualified immunity, the only people who would benefit from it, in many ways, would be the trial lawyers,” Miyares said.

While not a qualified immunity case, one high-profile case where Herring’s office has escalated is the criminal prosecution of US Park Police officers Lucas Vinyard and Alejandro Amaya., who shot and killed northern Virginia motorist Bijan Ghaisar in 2017. When federal authorities chose not to prosecute, local prosecutors filed manslaughter charges against the officers.

Officers demand immunity from local prosecution in federal court, but Herring’s office is working with local prosecutors to keep the criminal case on track. Herring said it’s important to hold officers accountable when acting outside of their authority.

Miyares said he was unaware of the case and declined to say what he would do.

Herring, along with other Democrats vying this year, has underscored his support for the right to abortion at a time when some activists fear the U.S. Supreme Court is on the verge of overturning protections against the ‘abortion. and let states impose more stringent bans. Herring cited his work to overturn past court rulings by his Republican predecessor, Ken Cuccinelli, who sought to impose a series of strict licensing regulations on abortion providers.

Miyares said he opposes abortion with exceptions for cases of rape, incest and protection of the mother’s life. He said he would not support Texas’ recently enacted abortion ban because it does not include these exceptions.

The two also differ on the emergency measures taken by Governor Ralph Northam last year in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Herring has touted his record in court defending the restrictions as a public health necessity. In a debate earlier this year, Miyares criticized the restrictions, noting that landlords were wronged when they couldn’t evict tenants who didn’t pay rent.

“It is easy for the governor to issue these decrees,” Miyares said during the debate. “It can have an incredibly disruptive effect on people’s lives. … The governor said that your liquor store could be seen as an essential business that should be kept open, but not your places of worship, which in my opinion was a violation of our religious freedoms.

During the election campaign, Miyares is as likely to highlight his personal story as he is to mention his position on particular issues. He said his mother fled Communist Cuba in 1965 and her experience informed his development as an elected official.

“I have an immigrant’s perspective on this country,” said Miyares, who served as a Virginia Beach attorney and was later elected to the House of Delegates in 2015. “I like to say, ‘If your family came to this country in search of hope and opportunity, chances are your family is very similar to my family.

Herring said Miyares talked so much about his biography because his stance on the issues would be extremely unpopular with Virginians, including gun safety votes that earned him an A rating from the National Rifle Association and votes environmental issues that earned her a failing grade from the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club.

“He knows his voting record and his positions on the issues are out of step with the majority of Virginians,” said Herring, a lawyer who served on the Loudoun County Supervisory Board and the State Senate before be elected prosecutor. general. “And so he dodged and tried to change shape because he knows that if his true positions are known, he will lose the elections and lose them badly.”

Herring and Miyares are expected to meet in another debate on Wednesday. Election day is November 2.

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