May 13, 2013
A former University of Virginia professor endorsed a candidate for attorney general Monday while also taking stabs at the man currently in the post.
Michael Mann endorsed Democratic State Sen. Mark Herring from Leesburg for attorney general.
"He was in fact one of the very first politicians who came out to defend me and the University of Virginia several years ago," Mann said, referring to the lawsuit filed by current attorney general and gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli.
Cuccinelli, a Republican, went after Mann and his climate change research at the university. Cuccinelli said Mann defrauded taxpayers by skewing research to line up with his political views.
"Cuccinelli went on this witch hunt to discredit me and my science because he doesn't accept reality of climate change," Mann said in a conference call.
Mann's remarks come as Cuccinelli released a new campaign ad discussing small business and how he will create an engine for job growth if elected.
"[It] starts with closing tax loopholes and putting an end to special interest giveaways," Cuccinelli says in the ad.
But Mann said Cuccinelli already wasted taxpayer dollars with what he calls an assault on UVa. and the scientific establishment.
"Presumably hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, to pursue this witch hunt," Mann said. "That's money that could have been better spent."
Mann now works at Penn State University. While he may not work in Virginia anymore, his endorsement of Herring for attorney general is a response to Cuccinelli's lawsuit to ensure it doesn't happen again.
"What he did was completely unacceptable," Mann said. "Many have called it an abuse of power."
Herring said in the conference call that he believes in science and that climate change is manmade. Herring said leaders need to step up to the plate to address the issue.