Del. Jason Miyares wins Virginia GOP Attorney General nomination as vote-counting continues

Miyares will face either Del. Jay Jones or incumbent Mark Herring

RICHMOND, Va. – The Republican Party of Virginia announced late Sunday that state Del. Jason Miyares has won its nomination for attorney general, as the party works to tabulate the votes for several state offices cast by tens of thousands of Virginia Republicans.

Hand-counting of the ballots began earlier Sunday with several dozen people managing the effort, which started with the attorney general contest, John March, a spokesperson for the Republican Party of Virginia said.

Miyares released the following statement after his win:

“I am honored to have earned the trust and support from voters all across the Commonwealth. Now the movement continues to restore integrity to the Office of Attorney General by replacing Mark Herring with a leader who will focus on keeping violent criminals behind bars, supporting our law enforcement officers, and keeping our neighborhoods safe. The Attorney General should be focused on enforcing the law fairly, not using the office to push a partisan political agenda. Over the last eight years we have seen what the scandal plagued Attorney General has tried to do to advance his personal political agenda and the voters of Virginia believe it is time to restore honor to the office and bring a check and balance to state government. As Attorney General I will use my experience as a prosecutor to keep violent criminals off our streets, enforce our law fairly and impartially, and defend the constitution of Virginia and the United States.”

Voters cast their ballots a day earlier in the party’s nominating contest for governor and other statewide offices.

March said the governor’s race would be counted second, followed by the lieutenant governor’s race.

Officials have warned it may take multiple days to finish the counting, which was complicated by the ranked-choice voting method used, as well as a proportional representation system awarded each city and county.

The GOP opted, after a bitter, drawn-out fight, to hold what it called an unassembled convention on Saturday. Because pandemic restrictions ban mass gatherings, delegates cast ballots Saturday at nearly 40 polling sites statewide.

Miyares won out against three other candidates: Leslie Haley, a law firm partner and elected official in Chesterfield County; Chuck Smith, a former U.S. Navy JAG commander; and Jack White, a minister, Army veteran and former clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Jr.

“I want to congratulate Jason on his victory this evening,” said state party chairman Rich Anderson in a statement. “Running for Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Virginia is no easy task, and this is a critical first step.”

Democrats will choose their nominees for statewide offices in a primary June 8. In that party’s nominating contest for attorney general, state Del. Jay Jones is challenging incumbent Mark Herring.

Herring released the following statement after Miyares’ win:

Tonight, the Republican Party of Virginia announced that its most vote-suppressing nominating process in modern history has yielded right-wing Delegate Jason Miyares as the Republican nominee for Attorney General. Miyares’ Trumpian, pro-NRA, anti-healthcare, anti-choice agenda would be a disaster for Virginians, setting us back decades in our quest for affordable healthcare, comprehensive gun-safety measures, and reform in our justice system.

“As the Republican Party of Virginia’s Attorney General nominee, Jason Miyares is beholden to the values and policies of Donald Trump — and he’ll bring them the same result that Trump did in 2016 and 2020,” said Farah Melendez, Herring for Attorney General Campaign Manager. “Miyares is anti-healthcare, anti-civil rights, anti-criminal justice reform and anti-gun safety. His vision for Virginia is no different than Donald Trump’s, and Virginians will overwhelmingly reject him in favor of four more years of progress under Attorney General Mark Herring.”

The Washington Post reported that the start of Sunday’s vote-counting was briefly delayed after a housekeeper entered the ballroom where the ballots were stored and snapped tamper-proof tape that had been used to seal the room. That set off a frenzy to investigate and review video to make sure nothing was amiss, according to the newspaper.