State executive news headlines:
By Maresa Strano
RICHMOND, Virginia: The Republican Party of Virginia held a closed primary convention this past weekend to nominate its candidates for the three state executive offices up for election this year: governor, lt. governor and attorney general. All three positions are occupied by Republicans, and none are seeking re-election to their current posts. Term-limited Governor Bob McDonnell cannot run, and incumbent state attorney general Ken Cuccinelli is hoping to take over for him as Virginia's chief executive officer.
At the convention, Cuccinelli, a leader whose decisively conservative stances on federal health care reform, climate change and abortion have made him popular with right-wing activists, confirmed his virtually guaranteed place on the 2013 general election ballot, having been the only member of his party to file for governor,. By contrast, the lieutenant governor and attorney general primary fields both drew primary contests. Seven candidates filed for retiring Lt. Gov Bill Bolling’s seat, while two entered the race to replace Cuccinelli as attorney general. On May 17-18, delegates voted to advance E.W. Jackson for lt. governor, and Mark Obenshain for attorney general.
Jackson's win Saturday marked the first time since Maurice Dawkins' nomination a quarter of a century ago that Virginia Republicans nominated an African-American for statewide office. A minister at a non-denominational church and relatively new member of the Republican Party, Jackson edged out six opponents by emphasizing his commitment to hallmark conservative issues such as smaller government, Second Amendment rights and traditional family values. He appealed to the delegation with the promise, "We will not only win an election in November, we will open the hearts and minds of our people and save this commonwealth and save this country."
State Sen. Mark Obenshain defeated state Rep. Rob Bell, a fellow "strong fiscal and social conservative", for the party's nomination for attorney general. Obenshain's late father, GOP politician Richard Obenshain, died in a plane crash during his 1978 campaign for U.S. Senate. Known for his work on voter-ID laws in the Virginia Senate, Obenshain's attorney general platform has so far highlighted other popular Republican causes like combating "federal overreach", namely the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, as well as coordinating with the state legislature on stricter law enforcement policies targeting drug and sex criminals.
The Democratic candidates for governor, lt. governor and attorney general will compete in the taxpayer funded primary election on June 11, 2013. The winners will square off against the Republican convention nominees in the general election taking place November 5, 2013.
Here is a complete list of candidates who competed in the May 17-18 Republican primary convention: