This post has been updated.
The head of Virginia’s Democratic Party is stepping down next month.
In a statement Wednesday, Democratic Party of Virginia Chairman Brian Moran said he is leaving “following a successful 2012 campaign effort” and wants the party to bring in a new chairman ahead of what is expected to be a busy 2013 campaign season in the commonwealth.
Herring, 42, joined the Virginia General Assembly in 2009. If elected party chair, she would not need to leave the legislature to take the position.
In a letter to supporters Wednesday, Herring said she is running for party chair to channel Democrats’ “grassroots strength” and build on the victories of 2012. She also notes having the support of Moran, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe and many legislative colleagues.
Sen. Mark Warner (D), who has some say over the matter as the most senior elected statewide Democrat, has said he would officially announce by Thanksgiving whether he intends to run for governor, though few Democrats expect that he will.
Should he decide to run, Warner would be the overwhelming favorite in next year’s gubernatorial contest, according to a poll by Quinnipiac University released Wednesday. A Virginia Democratic source said Warner and McAuliffe had talked and “Terry had his blessing to move in” and install his picks at the state party.
Moran, 53, spent eight years as Democratic Caucus chair in the Virginia House of Delegates before running unsuccessfully for governor in 2009. He has served as party chair since 2010 and is the brother of Virginia Rep. James P. Moran.
Moran leaves as head of the party after two high-profile Democratic victories in Virginia: the reelection of President Obama and the election of Tim Kaine as Virginia’s junior senator.
Party spokesman Brian Coy said Moran is “going to take a little bit of time off” to explore his options before making a decision on what he will do next but will likely “remain active in politics.”
“I am pleased to report that the Democratic Party of Virginia is in a solid position to play a significant role in electing a Democratic statewide tickets and making gains in the legislature in 2013,” the statement read.
Warner and Sen.-elect Kaine, both former Democratic Virginia governors, praised Moran and thanked him for his service in separate statements Wednesday.