Nov 7, 2017

The attorney general race in Virginia

Republican John Adams, left, is challenging incumbent Democrat Attorney General Mark Herring in Virginia. Photos: Steve Helber / AP

The gubernatorial standoff between Democrat Ralph Northam and Republican Ed Gillespie may be taking national headlines today, but another race worth paying attention to down-ballot pits incumbent Democrat Attorney General Mark Herring against Republican federal prosecutor and military veteran John Adams to be Virginia's attorney general.

Why we're paying attention: Attorneys general across the country, including Herring himself, have been playing a big role in countering Trump's policies this year, in particular the various iterations of the travel ban. And in the last several years, Virginia has been at the center of some national debates, including same sex marriage — his refusal to back Virginia's ban on same sex marriage elevated the issue to the Supreme Court and effectively legalized same sex marriage nationwide.

How the polling plays: Roanoke College had Herring and Adams tied last week 46-46. The Republican Attorneys General Association Communications Director, Zack Roday, told Axios his team wasn't surprised at the tightening poll numbers. "We always knew this could be a close race," Roday said.

The wild card in the race: Whether this is a referendum on Trump. And per the Democratic Attorneys General Association's Executive Director, Sean Rankin, "there are certainly people in Virginia who oppose the president strongly," but "I don't think that accounts for the universe of people who will vote."

How the race is changing the calculus: There's been a shift in spending trends — national organizations for both parties have dropped a "gentleman's agreement" to not spend to unseat an incumbent. It likely won't just be Virginia that takes the gloves off, Rankin tells Axios. He predicts an uptick in spending in 2018 for A.G. races nationwide, which "will be the real trend across the country...whether or not it's a challenge to an incumbent or an open seat." There are 31 A.G. races next year.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 5,405,029 — Total deaths: 344,997 — Total recoveries — 2,168,408Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 1,642,021 — Total deaths: 97,698 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,195Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans sue California over mail-out ballot plan

California Gov. Gavin Newsom during a February news conference in Sacramento, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President Trump accused Democrats of trying "Rig" November's general election as Republican groups filed a lawsuit against California Sunday in an attempt to stop Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) from mailing ballots to all registered voters.

Driving the news: Newsom signed an executive order this month in response to the coronavirus pandemic ensuring that all registered voters in the state receive a mail-in ballot.

Federal judge strikes down Florida law requiring felons to pay fines before voting

Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: oe Raedle/Getty Images

A federal judge on Sunday ruled that a Florida law requiring convicted felons to pay all court fines and fees before registering to vote is unconstitutional.

Why it matters: The ruling, which will likely be appealed by state Republicans, would clear the way for hundreds of thousands of ex-felons in Florida to register to vote ahead of November's election.