(Because of a technical malfunction that crashed this site on April 4, and took down every post and comment after March 14, the following has been re-posted. It was originally written March 31, 2008.)   As we expected, Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax) officially announced his intention to seek the 2009 Republican nomination for Attorney General earlier this afternoon at a news conference in Fairfax County. He is the first candidate of either party to announce.

Also exploring runs are Delegate Rob Bell (R-58, Albermarle), Arlington County lawyer Dave Foster and former Delegate Paul Harris. Senator Mark Obenshain (R-26, Harrisonburg) also frequently is mentioned. However, rumor has it that he and good friend Cuccinelli will not compete against each other. Cuccinelli's decision may be a clue as to Obenshain's inclination. Below is the official news release put out by the Cuccinelli campaign:

CUCCINELLI ANNOUNCES ATTORNEY GENERAL BID

Northern Virginia Senator Touts Conservative Principles; Effective Leadership

Fairfax, Virginia, March 31, 2008  - State Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37th) today announced his bid for Attorney General of Virginia.

Cuccinelli framed this year as a time of exploration for his statewide campaign, to include a listening tour across the Commonwealth.

Cuccinelli noted that it has been nearly twenty years since Republicans had a Northern Virginian on their statewide ticket. He observed that with Bob McDonnell and Bill Bolling as likely standard-bearers for the GOP next year, he is in an ideal position to complete his party's team: "This would be a ticket with a record of fighting for Virginia families and businesses, representing the three most populous parts of the Commonwealth," Cuccinelli commented.

Cuccinelli said "I believe that I can win in November 2009 because I stand strongly for conservative principles and I have proven that I can explain them in a way that demonstrates to your average Virginia family that I can make a positive difference in their daily lives." Cuccinelli went on to list some examples, cutting red tape, fighting tax increases, protecting liberties while keeping families and children safe, and fighting government waste and focusing spending on core responsibilities like transportation, education and law enforcement.

The Senator, a veteran of three successful campaigns in Northern Virginia, described himself as being firmly in the GOP mainstream: "I have always stayed true to the conservative principles that I have advertised in my campaigns, and that is simply because I am a conservative at heart.  It's not just positions, it's who I am. I am unapologetically pro-life and anti-tax, and I have been the biggest defender of the 2nd Amendment and property rights in the Virginia State Senate since my arrival. And I have done all this in some of the toughest political territory for a conservative, not merely in Northern Virginia, but in inner Northern Virginia, right here in Fairfax County - the single biggest vote prize in a statewide race."

Cuccinelli drew attention to his statewide donor base and extensive support from "low dollar" contributors and grassroots activists, who are typically considered the backbone of a successful campaign. He noted that he has always won his races despite being outspent due to efficient, high energy and volunteer-intensive campaigns. Cuccinelli stated his intention to "run a campaign that the founding fathers would be proud of.  A campaign that consistently applies conservative principles to today's pressing issues."

Cuccinelli invited support for his race and pledged to bring his conservative principles to the way he operates the Attorney General's office. He praised Bob McDonnell's efforts to review the Virginia code and cut back on outdated or in-effective regulations. Cuccinelli indicated he would expand that effort to examine under-performing and obsolete state programs. 

A litigation, business and patent attorney and partner in the law firm of Cuccinelli & Day, PLLC, Cuccinelli was first elected to the Senate of Virginia in a 2002 special election. He serves on the Senate Courts of Justice Committee and has worked closely with the Attorney General's office on key public safety and public interest legislation.

Cuccinelli was the chief architect of 2007 legislation tightening protections for private property owners and strictly defining the circumstances where the government's eminent domain power may be used. The Northern Virginia Senator also has a passion for helping those who, in his words, "through no fault of their own, are unable to help themselves." He was an integral part of crafting this year's mental health system reform package, a subject on which he has submitted legislation since 2004.