Candidate for 93rd campaigns on Medicaid expansion

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(Courtesy Mike Mullin for House of Delegates/Katherine Sparks)
(Courtesy Mike Mullin for House of Delegates/Katherine Sparks)

As the son of a high school English teacher, Mike Mullin, the Democratic nominee for the 93rd House of Delegates District, does not mince words.

“We need to reach across the aisle and change minds,” he said of his platform that calls for expanding Medicaid and investing in early childhood education. “We have to show that financially for the state this makes sense.”

Mullin will run for office in a special election, which will be held Nov. 8 as a result of Del. Monty Mason’s (D-Dist. 93) resignation from in the Virginia House to run for the 1st District Senate seat of the late Virginia Sen. John Miller.

Calling for increased spending on health care and education, Mullin’s agenda flies in the face of Virginia’s fiscally conservative House Republicans, but the criminal prosecutor from Newport News still has yet to face an opponent on either side of the aisle.

According to Dianna Moorman, JCC general registrar and director of elections,  more information regarding a potential Republican challenger will be made available after the party’s filing deadline, which is Friday at 5 p.m.

The Virginia 93rd District Nominating Committee planned to hold an unassembled caucus, or “firehouse primary,” on Aug. 15 to select a Democratic candidate, but Mullin received the nomination uncontested. His opponent, Williamsburg physician Greg Biernacki, was disqualified after it was discovered he had voted for Gov. John Kasich during the Republican presidential primary, information he provided to the public and committee. 

“This is my fault and I should have clarified whether this would be disqualifying prior to launching a campaign,” Biernacki said in a statement. “I put this down to a ‘rookie mistake’ as I have no experience in the political process.”

Like Biernacki, Mullin has limited political experience. He lost his first race for Newport News City Council earlier this year. He said he continues to work to represent the area because he cares about the place he calls his home.

Born in Fairfax, Va., Mullin moved to the Peninsula at 17 to attend Christopher Newport University. After receiving a bachelor’s degree from CNU, he earned a law degree from the Catholic University of America. He and his wife Laura live in the Kiln Creek neighborhood of Newport News with their three boys, who are five, three and one years old.

“It’s a house full of a lot of love — and noise,” Mullin joked.

As an assistant commonwealth attorney in Suffolk, Mullin has seen the grimmer side of the region he wants to represent. He has prosecuted a series of gang cases and is a member of the Virginia Gang Investigators Association. He visits public meetings and churches to speak about gang culture and its impact on communities. In working to reduce gang violence on the street, Mullin says he has seen where there is “opportunity” for reform in the courts.

“Every day I see the experience that people have in the criminal justice system,” he said. “I think that I can bring some of that unique perspective to Richmond.”

Editor’s note: The article originally cited Chuck Young, chairman of the James City County Republican committee, as stating the party’s filing deadline was Tuesday at 5 p.m. He was mistaken. The deadline is Friday.