Mark Herring

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For other people named Mark Herring, see Mark Herring (disambiguation).
Mark Herring
Mark Herring at McAuliffe rally.jpg
47th Attorney General of Virginia
Assumed office
January 11, 2014
Governor Terry McAuliffe
Preceded by Ken Cuccinelli
Member of the Virginia Senate
from the 33rd district
In office
February 1, 2006 – January 11, 2014
Preceded by Bill Mims
Succeeded by Jennifer Wexton
Personal details
Born Mark Rankin Herring
(1961-09-25) September 25, 1961 (age 54)
Johnson City, Tennessee, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Laura Herring
Children Peyton
Alma mater University of Virginia (B.A., M.A.)
University of Richmond (J.D.)
Religion Presbyterianism
Website Campaign website

Mark Rankin Herring (born September 25, 1961)[1] is the 47th and current Attorney General of Virginia. He is a member of the Democratic Party. Previously, he served in the Senate of Virginia since a 2006 special election. He represented the 33rd district, made up of parts of Fairfax and Loudoun counties.[1][2]

Education and career[edit]

Herring obtained a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in foreign affairs and economics at the University of Virginia. He also obtained a Master of Arts in foreign affairs from UVA. He subsequently obtained a J.D. from the University of Richmond School of Law.[1]

He served in elected office on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors from 2000 to 2003,[3] and was the Town Attorney for Lovettsville, Virginia, from 1992 to 1999. He is the principal with The Herring Law Firm, P.C., in Leesburg, Virginia.

Herring was elected to the Senate of Virginia in a special election triggered by two-term incumbent Republican Bill Mims' appointment as chief deputy attorney general of Virginia. He was re-elected to a full term in the 2007 election, and reelected in 2011.

On July 24, 2012, he announced that he would run for the office of Attorney General of Virginia, in the 2013 elections.[4][5] On April 2, 2013, The Democratic Party of Virginia (DPVA) certified that Herring's name would appear on the June primary ballot.[6] On June 11, 2013, Herring won the primary.[7]

Attorney General of Virginia[edit]


Herring faced Justin Fairfax in the Democratic primary in June 2013, winning narrowly by a margin of 52%-48%. He faced Republican Mark Obenshain in the general election.

On the night of the election, Obenshain held a 1,200 vote lead over Herring. Vote totals fluctuated as ballots were canvassed in the following days, and the race remained too close to call. On November 12, 2013, with all ballots counted, Herring held a 165-vote lead, or less than 0.01%, and Obenshain requested a recount.[8] Herring's total increased during the recount, so Obenshain conceded the election on December 18, 2013, and later that day, the recount ended with Herring winning by 907 votes, or 0.04%.[9][10]


Herring was sworn into office on January 11, 2014.

Virginia Marriage Amendment[edit]

On January 23, 2014, Herring announced that he would not defend the Virginia Marriage Amendment in federal court, and filed a brief in a federal lawsuit being brought against the law asking for it to be struck down. Herring said in a press conference announcing the move, "I believe the freedom to marry is a fundamental right and I intend to ensure that Virginia is on the right side of history and the right side of the law."[11]

Reaction to the announcement was mainly along party lines, with Democrats mostly praising the move and Republicans mostly criticizing it as a violation of his oath of office.[12] The National Organization for Marriage has called for Herring's impeachment, claiming that the Virginia attorney general is obligated to defend all state laws against challenges.[13] In the press conference, Herring said, "There are those who will say that the attorney general is required to defend every challenge to a state law, even a law that is unconstitutional. They could not be more wrong."[14]

The amendment would be ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. District Court in Norfolk in the case Bostic v. Schaefer on February 13, 2014. On July 28, 2014, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a 2–1 opinion upholding the lower court's decision. This was appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States, which denied a writ of certiorari, letting the Fourth Circuit Court's decision stand and legalizing same-sex marriage in Virginia.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Senator Mark R. Herring; Democrat - District 33". Senate of Virginia. Retrieved June 8, 2011. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Meet Mark Herring". Retrieved January 16, 2009. [dead link]
  3. ^ "Senator Mark R. Herring (VA)". Retrieved June 8, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Herring To Run For Attorney General Seat". Retrieved July 24, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Herring to seek attorney general post, restore ‘credibility’ to the office". Retrieved July 24, 2012. 
  6. ^ Walker, Julian (April 2, 2013). "McAuliffe named Dem governor nominee, 4 others make ballot". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved April 3, 2013. 
  7. ^ Pershing, Ben and Errin Whack (June 11, 2013). "Democrats give nod to Northam, Herring in statewide races". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 12, 2013. 
  8. ^ Korff, Jay. "Virginia election 2013: Mark Herring claims Attorney General victory". WJLA. Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  9. ^ Emily Schultheis. "GOP Sen. Mark Obenshain concedes in Virginia attorney general race". POLITICO. Retrieved August 7, 2015. 
  10. ^ Ress, Dave (December 19, 2013). "It's official: Recount results show 907 vote margin for Herring". Daily Press. Retrieved January 2, 2014. 
  11. ^ Va. Attorney General Mark Herring files brief opposing same-sex marriage ban The Washington Post
  12. ^ Va. lawmakers split along party lines on AG’s move The Washington Post
  13. ^ AG wants Virginia on ;'right side of history' POLITICO
  14. ^ "Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring says gay marriage ban unconstitutional". The Washingtion Times. Retrieved August 7, 2015. 

External links[edit]

Senate of Virginia
Preceded by
Bill Mims
Member of the Virginia Senate
from the 33rd district

Succeeded by
Jennifer Wexton
Legal offices
Preceded by
Ken Cuccinelli
Attorney General of Virginia