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Two Northern Virginians Face Off For Democratic Attorney General Nod

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The Democratic candidates for Virginia's top attorney are ready to square off soon.
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The Democratic candidates for Virginia's top attorney are ready to square off soon.

Virginia Democrats go to the polls next week to select candidates for November's general election. The race for attorney general is hotly contested.

State Senator Mark Herring of Loudoun County faces former federal prosecutor Justin Fairfax. Both candidates are from Northern Virginia, which means the region may end up choosing the winner.

"When the race started, Herring was sort of seen as the favorite because Fairfax is sort of a lesser known person," says Kyle Kondik, an analyst with the University of Virginia Center for Politics. "But I think Fairfax has run kind of a decent race, and so I think it's to the point where it's kind of unclear who the favorite might be going into the primary."

Herring supporters say that he has a solid legislative record and a history of winning elections in areas that are tough for Democrats. Arlington state Senator Barbara Favola is among his backers.

"I think the fact that Mark Herring comes from Loudoun, which is such a swing district, is going to matter," Favola says. "He has actually demonstrated he can win in Republican-leaning districts."

Kerry Donley is a former mayor of Alexandria and former state party chairman who is supporting Justin Fairfax.

"One of the things I think is important about Justin is that is he is a former federal prosecutor. He was a prosector in the Eastern District here in Alexandria at the federal court. And so he brings a law and order perspective."

Whichever Democrat wins next week, he faces an uphill climb. Republicans have won the seat in every election since 1985.

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