State Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, announced this morning that he is exploring a 2013 run for attorney general.
Obenshain’s announcement comes on the heels of news that incumbent Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will run for governor in 2013.
“Ken is a principled and effective Attorney General, earning the admiration of friends and foes alike, and he sets a high standard for others to follow,” Obenshain said in an email to supporters. “Virginia will need continued conservative leadership in that office, and that is why I am exploring a bid for Attorney General in 2013. ”
Obenshain’s announcement is not a surprise. As he noted in an email to supporters, he has been traveling the state for a year to stump for Republican candidates and to explore a possible statewide candidacy. Some pegged him as a candidate for lieutenant governor if Cuccinelli had decided to seek re-election to the attorney general’s office. Obenshain is one of several statewide prospects hosting hospitality suites tonight at the annual Republican Party Advance at the Homestead.
Obenshain’s Republican roots run deep. His father, Dick Obenshain, grew up in Blacksburg and made an unsuccessful run for attorney general in 1969. Dick Obenshain took over as chairman of the state Republican Party in 1972 and helped build it into a competitive force in state politics. He won the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in 1978, but died in a place crash during the campaign. The state party’s headquarters in Richmond are named for him.
Mark Obenshain’s sister Kate also chaired the state party from 2003 to 2006.
Mark Obenshain has served in the Senate since 2004. He has played major roles in efforts to reform Virginia’s eminent domain laws and eliminate the so-called “triggerman rule” that restricts eligibility for the death penalty. He also has sponsored legislation to privatize the state’s retail liquor operations, a policy goal shared by Gov. Bob McDonnell.
A full news release from Obenshain is below:
HARRISONBURG — Today, Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) announced that he will explore a bid for Attorney General in 2013 in the event that the seat is open, following Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s confirmation that he will run for Governor in lieu of standing for reelection.
Said Obenshain, “Ken Cuccinelli is a principled and effective Attorney General, earning the admiration of friends and foes alike, here in Virginia and nationwide. He has put his mark on the office, and the Commonwealth is the better for it.”
Recognized statewide as one of Virginia’s leading conservative voices, Senator Obenshain is committed to limited government, low taxes and individual liberty. As a state senator, he has championed legislation on school choice, eminent domain reform, voter identification, triggerman rule repeal, and family values. He secured the passage of legislation cracking down on illegal gambling and the methamphetamine trade. Obenshain wrote tough new laws on domestic violence, and worked to defend Virginia’s children from online predators.
Obenshain said, “As both an attorney and a senior member of the Courts of Justice Committee, my driving purpose in the State Senate has been to defend individual liberties, limit government overreach, and keep our communities safe.”
For his work in the General Assembly, Senator Obenshain has been honored as the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association’s Legislator of the Year and received the Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys “Champion of Justice Award.” He is also a Family Foundation Legislator of the Year, has an A+ rating from the NRA and was one of only six senators to receive the American Conservative Union’s “Defender of Liberty” award in Virginia. He is the Senate Chair of the Conservative Caucus.
“I’m proud to be known as common sense conservative, and I know that Virginia will need continued strong, consistent and unflinching conservative leadership in the Office of the Attorney General,” said Obenshain. “I will also work tirelessly to protect the rights of individual and families, and to promote jobs and economic development by fighting oppressive and intrusive government regulations that threaten Virginia’s economic growth and prosperity.”
In addition to his service as a member of the Senate of Virginia, Senator Obenshain serves as a member of Governor McDonnell’s Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring. During Governor Allen’s administration, he served on the Commission on Citizen Empowerment and, later, the Commission on Welfare Reform, helping to develop Virginia’s groundbreaking welfare reform legislation that was a model for national reform in the 1990s.
Senator Obenshain represents the twenty-sixth district in the Virginia Senate. The district includes the City of Harrisonburg and the counties of Warren, Shenandoah, Page, and Rappahannock, and Rockingham (part).