A group of 12 Democratic lawmakers in the General Assembly sent Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli a letter Friday asking him to resign as attorney general as he runs for governor as the presumptive Republican nominee.
The Senators and Delegates reminded Cuccinelli that recent predecessors who served as attorney general gave up the post when they ran for governor.
"As you well know, nearly every attorney general over the past several decades (including each of the last six), have faced the same choice you face now and determined that running for governor is not compatible with honoring his or her commitment to the people of Virginia to faithfully execute the duties of the office you now hold," they wrote.
Cuccinelli has said he will buck tradition by remaining in office as he pursues the Executive Mansion.
Gov. Bob McDonnell was the latest sitting attorney general to leave the office when he ran for governor in 2009.
The Democratic lawmakers - including local Sens. Mamie Locke of Hampton, Ralph Northam of Norfolk and Louise Lucas of Portsmouth - said the office of attorney general is a full time job that requires Cuccinelli's utmost attention to fully carry out the commitments of his office for the commonwealth.
"None of the undersigned would begrudge you the right to seek the governor's office this year," they worte. "Nor would they disagree that your interests are best served by running a vigorous campaign that includes an aggressive travel schedule, hours devoted to meeting Virginians and raising money and any other activity that you deem necessary to achieve your goal. Many Virginians, included we who write you today, would however object to you performing those activities at the expense of the position with which the taxpayers have entrusted you."
Northam is running for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor, but as serving in the General Assembly is a part-time position most sitting lawmakers don't resign when running for statewide office.
Following is the full letter sent by Democrats to Cuccinelli:
"Virginia Democratic House Caucus
1710 E Franklin St.
Richmond, VA, 23223
The Honorable Ken Cuccinelli
Office of the Attorney General
900 East Main Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Dear Attorney General Cuccinelli,
As people who, like you, were elected to serve the families of this great Commonwealth to the best of our ability, we write to you today to convey a pressing concern about your stated plan to remain in your office even as the demands of your campaign for Governor of Virginia increase over the course of this year.
As you well know, nearly every attorney general over the past several decades (including each of the last six), have faced the same choice you face now and determined that running for governor is not compatible with honoring his or her commitment to the people of Virginia to faithfully execute the duties of the office you now hold.
As he announced his resignation, former Governor and Attorney General Jim Gilmore said, "I have concluded an office of this importance should have no part-time campaigners."