1-on-1 with attorney general candidate John Adams

RICHMOND, VA (WRIC) - In a few weeks, Virginia will elect an attorney general.

The two choices: a Democratic incumbent and a Republican who's never held office.

Capitol bureau reporter Evanne Armour is sitting down one-on-one with both nominees.

John Adams has never run for office, but he's clear about why he's doing it now.

"The whole reason I'm running is the office has become too politicized," he said.

The Republican wants to be Virginia's next attorney general. He said the man who holds that position now -- Attorney General Mark Herring -- picks and chooses which laws to enforce.

Adams' campaign slogan? "Virginia needs a new lawyer."

Adams said it is the job of the attorney general to enforce the laws and constitution of Virginia, not pursue a personal political agenda.

"Virginians decided, for example, that we want to be a right-to-work state, but Mark Herring has filed briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court that run against right-to-work laws. Virginians decided we wanted voter ID, but Mark Herring didn't like it. So when that statute was sued, he refused to defend it," said Adams. "In the commonwealth, we the people had to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees."

Adams and his wife, Lisa, are from Chesterfield County. They met in high school. Their four boys go to the same schools they went to.

The VMI grad served as an officer in the U.S. Navy before going to law school at UVA.

And, yes, he's related to the country's second president who shared the same name. It's a question Adams said he gets a lot.

Even though he, unlike the other John Adams, has never held political office, he said he has the experience for this role.

"I clerked on the United States Supreme Court. I was a lawyer for President George W. Bush in The White House. I've been a federal prosecutor and I help run a major law firm here in Virginia," he said.

If you look at the issues laid out on his website, the most detailed strategy is for combating drug abuse and overdoses. It's a top priority of his opponent, too.

"I'm prepared to do this job -- even though he's the incumbent."

While the governor's race has unsurprisingly sucked up much of the attention this political cycle, Adams said his race is also one to watch.

"The attorney general is a very powerful, powerful role," he said. "Candidly, I think more people are going to pay attention to it this cycle than they have in the past because of the activism we've seen out of the office."


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