RICHMOND — Attorney General Mark R. Herring on Wednesday formally announced plans to seek a third term as "the people's lawyer."

In a campaign video, Herring (D) highlights legal wins from his earliest days on the job, when he used the powers of his office to legalize same-sex marriage, challenge President Trump’s immigration ban, defend the Affordable Care Act and grant in-state tuition to certain undocumented immigrants.

At the same time, he promised action on more current issues, including the coronavirus pandemic, police brutality and systemic racism.

“Together we’ll work to keep you and your communities safe, fighting policies that fuel racism, hate and violence because we believe in justice for all Virginians,” he says in the video, which bills him as “the people’s lawyer.” “That means dismantling systemic racism, expanding opportunity, and holding law enforcement accountable to the communities they serve.”

A former state senator from Loudoun County, Herring first won the office in 2013. He was widely expected to seek the Executive Mansion in 2017, but ran instead for a second term. He made an early bird announcement in December 2018 that he would run for governor in 2021 and was thought to be a leading contender until February 2019, when he acknowledged he’d worn blackface to dress as a rapper at a college party in 1980, when he was 19.

Herring expressed “deep regret” at the time and eventually seemed to move past the episode. In September, he started spreading word to fellow Democrats that he would take a pass on the governor’s race and instead seek a third term. State Sen. L. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth), a senior member of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, has endorsed his bid for reelection.

Herring faces competition for the Democratic nomination from Del. Jerrauld C. “Jay” Jones (Norfolk), who is a member of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus. Jones got into the race in July, when it appeared that Herring was going to vacate the position. Herring’s decision to run for reelection instead did not change Jones’s plans.

On the Republican side, Del. Jason S. Miyares (Virginia Beach), a former prosecutor and the son of a Cuban immigrant, faces Chuck Smith, a Virginia Beach lawyer and former Marine. Smith pursued the nomination in 2017 but did not turn in the required signatures to get on the ballot at that time.