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Public Statements

NBC " The Rachel Maddow Show" - Virginia Attorney General Election

Interview

By:
Date:
Location: Unknown

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Joining us now is Donald McEachin. He`s Virginia state senator from
Richmond. And he`s the leader of the senate`s Democratic caucus.

Senator McEachin, thank you very for being with us tonight.

STATE SEN. DONALD MCEACHIN (D), VIRGINIA: Thank you for having me,
Rachel.

MADDOW: Have you had any response from Republicans in general, or
from the attorney general specifically, to your statement today?

MCEACHIN: All I`ve heard so far is crickets, Rachel. There hasn`t
been a word said from either Attorney General Cuccinelli or Senator
Obenshain.

MADDOW: When you say you want the attorney general to conduct himself
in a way befitting an elected official with responsibilities, to your mind,
what would that mean in this case?

MCEACHIN: Well, that would mean is that he puts partisan politics
aside and let Virginians have confidence in how this election process is
turning out. He is the chief legal officer in the commonwealth.

The first responsibility of any lawyer is to avoid the appearance of
impropriety, that here you are giving advice to a state agency, the state
board of elections on how to conduct themselves on what to do and how to do
it, and you`re fundraising for your Republican colleague. That`s just
wrong, and we`re calling on the attorney general to stop it.

MADDOW: It does feel like -- we were talking about this in the news
meeting today. The analogy that the producer came up with, which has stuck
with me all day, is the idea that you have learned that the umpire on your
baseball game has bet on the outcome, has a personal stake in the outcome.
And whether or not you think he or she is a good umpire, it`s very hard to
trust the way they`d be calling balls and strikes knowing that they`ve got
a personal stake in this.

It was Ken Cuccinelli`s decision not to step down as attorney general
when he decided to run for governor. Should it have been his decision or
should it be essentially a requirement of running for that kind of office
in the state, the requirement of the attorney general`s job
responsibilities that nobody is allowed to do this in the future?

MCEACHIN: Well, we`ve never had had to do that before. The Virginia
way has always been for the attorney general to step down. We called upon
him to do that this time around. We asked him to step aside as far as
giving advice to the various electoral boards across the state, he refused
to do so. And now, we found ourselves in this quandary where he is
actually raising money for his ticketmate while at the same time, as you so
eloquently said, he is calling the balls and strikes on the election
process.

MADDOW: The last time we spoke, one of the things we talked about was
another decision that was defended by Ken Cuccinelli`s office, which was
the effort by the state board of elections to purge almost 60,000 voters
off the voter rolls very shortly before this election happened. And they
put out a list that some country officials said contained too many errors
to be rushed through before this election happened.

Did you see the effects of that purge in this election? How did that
play out ultimately on Election Day?

MCEACHIN: Well, I don`t think we`ll really know how that played out.
Obviously, this election was very close. It was close at the gubernatorial
level. It was close at the attorney general level. We wouldn`t ever know.
But really, the sad thing here, Rachel, is the faith of the people of the
commonwealth of Virginia in the electoral process.

It`s up to all of us as elected officials to make sure that that is
integrity. And the attorney general, by doing what he`s doing now, raising
money for Senator Obenshain, and Senator Obenshain accepting those monies,
that`s hurting our ability to restore confidence on our election process.

MADDOW: Donald McEachin, Virginia state senator, thank you for being
with us tonight, sir. Stay in touch as this continues to unfold in your
state.

MCEACHIN: Thank you, Rachel.

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