It might be the most important race of 2013 you haven’t heard about.
The campaign for attorney general in Virginia isn’t making national headlines like the slugfest that is the governors race between Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe.
But polls show that the race to succeed Cuccinelli — the only attorney general race across the country in 2013 — is tight.
The Republican in the race promises to battle the “overreach” of the Obama administration if elected. Meanwhile, Democrat Mark Herring, a state senator, vows to reverse the “ideological crusade” Cuccinelli has brought to the office.
Mark Obenshain, the GOP nominee, discussed the campaign in a recent interview with The Daily Caller.
“We don’t win elections in Virginia as Republicans by running the red partisan flag up the flag pole and asking people to vote for us because we’re Republican,” Obenshain said. “We run elections by building coalitions, by reaching out to likeminded mainstream independents and Democrats and building that coalition. And that’s what I’ve been trying to do during the course of this campaign.”
Obenshain grew up in a well-known family in Republican politics. His father, Dick Obenshain, the former chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, was killed in a 1978 plane crash.
What does the 51-year-old state Republican senator think of Cuccinelli?
“As I look back at his tenure and the tenure of others who served as attorney general, there are things that I admire and will seek to emulate,” Obenshain said by phone.
“Ken has done a great job of pushing back when the federal government has overreached,” he said.
And that’s what Obenshain said he would focus on if elected, vowing to fight regulations that “lack statutory and constitutional foundations and they are causing harm to Virginia businesses.”
“With respect to jobs and the economy, I’m out talking about making sure that we are fighting to reduce the regulatory burden on businesses in Virginia,” he said.
“We have to be prepared to stand up and fight when they step over the bounds of constitutional and statutory authority and I’ve made it very clear that I’m going to do that,” he said. “If they’re going to step over those bounds and kill jobs in Virginia, I’m going to defend those Virginia jobs and will fight for them.”
Referencing Virginia’s coal industry, Obenshain added: “That’s an entire section of Virginia that the administration in Washington is really out to kill.”
Obenshain said he’s also focusing on public safety, with a big focus on “protecting our kids, in and out of school” from threats of gangs, drugs and violence. He said he’s also emphasizing issues like elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.
“It’s something that’s very important to us,” he said.
“We’re the only ones in this race running a positive, issue-oriented campaign,” he said. “The opposition is out there running a hyper partisan race and frankly, I think that people are tried of that.”