A first time candidate with an impressive resume has been quietly laying the groundwork to run for Attorney General as the Republican nominee in 2017. John Adams, a partner at McGuire Woods in Richmond, and a native of Chesterfield County is contemplating the transition from behind the scenes to a public candidate.
One might think a man with a name like John Adams was destined for politics. He will be seeking a statewide nomination in what is likely a convention against Rob Bell. Rob Bell is highly regarded for his conduct during the run for AG in 2013 and for his actions since.
Going through John’s history, one can see an interest in public service and significant experience that show both a keen intellect and a knowledge base for running a large office. His history includes such highlights as:
A graduate of VMI
Serving as a naval officer in the 1990’s
A prestigious clerkship for the Honorable David Sentelle on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
The most demanding and exclusive clerkship available, serving as a law clerk at the U.S. Supreme Court for the reliably conservative Justice Clarence Thomas
Associate Counsel for President George W. Bush
Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia prosecuting federal crimes
Chair of the Government Investigations and White Collar Litigation Department at a major law firm
This is the type of legal background that is nearly unparalleled.
The only question for someone with John’s history is: Does he desire the bench, public office, or the private sector money? Apparently public office has piqued his interest.
A little personal background:
John hails from Chesterfield County originally. He spent the early part of his legal career in Northern Virginia, but was pleased to be able to return to Chesterfield when he joined the U.S. Attorneys’ office. John is married and has four boys. Despite his legal pedigree, I found John to be quite approachable and down to earth.
John has worked in a number of positions that prohibit political involvement, but in the past few years he has made some efforts to become more involved in Virginia politics. John made substantial contributions to Glen Sturtevant and hosted a fundraiser for that vital senate seat. He also has a donation to Tony Pham for Henrico Commonwealth’s Attorney.
The friends you keep
Within the circular firing squad of the Virginia Republican Party we judge potential nominees by the company they keep. It is not clear if John hails from the old establishment, the new conservative wings of the party, or if he will be forging a third way. John appears to have the support of a few politicos from the old establishment, but he would neither confirm nor deny who was encouraging him to run. It will be interesting to see how he navigates internal party politics especially in light of a likely convention in 2017.
When reached for comment, John acknowledged that a run for Attorney General was potentially in the cards. He had the following to say:
I am not a politician and I have never run for public office. But I have been urged to run for Attorney General and I am considering it. Public service has been central to my life, including as a U.S. Naval Officer, a law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas, an Associate Counsel to the President of the United States, and a federal prosecutor. My aim has always been to serve my fellow citizens by preserving individual liberty, protecting public safety, and supporting each individual’s ability to pursue their chosen path. Today our Constitution and form of self government are under assault, and Mark Herring is an enthusiastic accomplice. Virginia needs an Attorney General who will fight for what makes Virginia a great place to live, work, and raise a family.