VIRGINIANS HAVE LONG regarded the attorney general in Richmond as the commonwealth’s top law-and-order enforcer. That changed in 2010 when the incumbent, Ken Cuccinelli II (R), took office. A former state senator, Mr. Cuccinelli remade the job into a platform for ideological and social activism, launching attacks on abortion, climate-change science and the Obama administration’s health-care law.
The two Democrats running for their party’s nomination for attorney general, in a June 11 primary, are intent on steering away from the politically charged causes that Mr. Cuccinelli has championed. Both men —Justin Fairfax , a former federal prosecutor, and Mark R. Herring, a state senator representing Loudoun and Fairfax counties — are capable lawyers who would make top-notch attorneys general.
Mr. Herring, 51, a former member of Loudoun County’s board of supervisors, is a respected, levelheaded legislator who has built a successful private law practice. He has a nuanced grasp of land use, public ethics and the difficulties facing parents who seek involuntary commitments for adult children who may represent a threat to themselves or others.