State Sen. Mark Herring, D-Loudoun, beat out his rival Justin Fairfax in a straw poll in Northern Virginia Saturday as the two compete for the Democratic nomination for attorney general.

The Mount Vernon District Democratic Committee straw poll - the first of the campaign season - had Herring with 128 votes to Fairfax's 108.

“I am honored to have the support of so many Fairfax County Democrats," Herring said in a press release. "Fairfax County has been pivotal in electing Democrats to statewide office in Virginia. Our campaign is building momentum for a strong victory in Fairfax County and in Virginia this November.  Virginia Democrats are looking for a candidate with a proven record of fighting for the values we share, and that’s what I’ve done as a member of the state Senate.”

Fairfax, a former assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, considered his 46 percent showing a major success. A campaign press release said Fairfax "stunned political observers," in the first straw poll.

“I’m elated at the amazing grassroots support our campaign is gaining every day," Fairfax said. "These poll results show that Virginians are eager for real change in the Attorney General’s Office. They want and deserve a champion who will change the odds and fight for safety, economic security, and opportunity for Virginia’s families and businesses. And most importantly, they want an Attorney General with the right legal experience and a record of results in protecting all Virginians. As the only federal prosecutor in the race, I look forward to delivering our message of safety and economic security all across the state.”