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Difference between revisions of "Mark Obenshain"

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*'''General Election - 2013 Attorney General Race'''
*'''General Election - 2013 Attorney General Race'''

Revision as of 18:46, 5 November 2013

Mark Obenshain
Mark Obenshain.jpg
Virginia Senate District 26
In office
2004 - Present
Term ends
January 11, 2016
Years in position 11
Base salary$18,000/year
Per diem$178/day
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 8, 2011
First elected2003
Next generalNovember 3, 2015
Term limitsN/A
Date of birth06/11/1962
Place of birthRichmond, VA
Office website
Campaign website
Mark D. Obenshain (b. June 11, 1962) is a Republican member of the Virginia State Senate, representing District 26. He was first elected to the chamber in 2003. Obenshain is currently running for the office of Attorney General of Virginia. He won the Republican nomination at the party's statewide primary convention on May 18, 2013 and will advance to the general election taking place November 5, 2013.[1][2]


Obenshain received a B.A. at Virginia Tech in 1984 and a J.D. at Lee University School of Law in 1987. Obenshain is an attorney.

Committee assignments


In the 2012-2013 legislative session, Obenshain served on the following committees:


In the 2010-2011 legislative session, Obenshain served on the following committees:


Campaign themes


Obenshain's campaign platform for the 2013 attorney general election focuses on opposing "federal overreach", including, but not limited to, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act[3], and coordinating with the state legislature on stricter statewide law enforcement policies targeting drug and sex-related crimes.[4]


Obenshain's campaign website lists the following issues:

  • Holding the Line on Taxes
Excerpt: "Our families already pay too much in taxes – on average, more than they spend on food, clothing, and shelter combined. In these economically trying times, higher taxes and fees would be particularly devastating."
  • Better Schools for Virginia’s Children
Excerpt: "Education is one of the most basic responsibilities of government, and I will continue to make it one of my top priorities. I recognize that state government has an important role to play, but also know that the best decisions are made “on the ground” in our local school divisions and not by education bureaucrats in Richmond."
  • Improving Transportation
Excerpt: "I have been a leading proponent of reforming the Virginia Department of Transportation. I took the lead in calling for an external performance audit of the Department, and I championed the reopening of the rest stops with my colleagues from the Shenandoah Valley."
  • Government Reform
Excerpt: "Simply put, government needs to be run more like a business. Of course, there are distinctions, but , but the degree of inefficiency, duplication, and overhead would astound the most seasoned businessman, and many long-entrenched governmental functions would wither under public scrutiny."
  • Strengthening Public Safety
Excerpt: "As a member of the Senate of Virginia, I have worked hard to provide law enforcement and judges with the tools they need to put criminals behind bars and to enhance penalties for gangs and drug felons."
  • Protecting Private Property Rights
Excerpt: "As co-patron of successful legislation defending the property rights of all Virginians against the Kelo-era expansion of government’s eminent domain power to encompass such nebulous categories as economic development, I have been at the forefront of the property rights battle here in Virginia and will continue to work to enshrine eminent domain reform in the Constitution of Virginia."
  • Defending Second Amendment Rights
Excerpt: "I believe strongly in the preservation of our gun rights in Virginia and have worked alongside the NRA to uphold these rights."
  • Promoting Energy Independence
Excerpt: "I stand in strong support of Virginia’s efforts to tap the significant oil deposits along Virginia’s outer continental shelf in an environmentally sensitive manner, and I will work to ensure that Virginia continues to welcome these many and varied approaches to energy independence.
  • Protecting Valley Values of Faith and Family
Excerpt: "I believe in the sanctity of innocent human life and will stand strong to protect the rights of Virginians from those who would drive all references to God and faith from the public square."



See also: Virginia attorney general election, 2013

Obenshain won the Republican nomination for Attorney General of Virginia in 2013.[1] The Republican Party of Virginia held a statewide primary convention to select its candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general on May 17-18. He will advance to the general election on November 5, 2013.

  • General Election - 2013 Attorney General Race
Recount: Virginia Attorney General General Election, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngMark Herring (MOV post-recount +907) 50% 1,105,045
     Republican Mark Obenshain 50% 1,104,138
Total Votes 2,209,183
Election Results Virginia State Board of Elections.
Virginia Attorney General General Election, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngMark Herring (MOV pre-recount +165) 49.9% 1,103,777
     Republican Mark Obenshain 49.9% 1,103,612
     N/A Write-In 0.2% 4,892
Total Votes 2,212,281
Election Results via Virginia State Board of Elections.

Attorney General of Virginia
Poll Mark Herring (D) Mark Obenshain (R)Not sureMargin of ErrorSample Size
Public Policy Poll
(May 24-28, 2013)
Roanoke University Poll
(July 8-14, 2013)
Public Policy Poll
(July 11-14, 2013)
Roanoke University Poll
(September 30 - October 5, 2013)
Christopher Newport Poll
(October 1-6, 2013)
Public Policy Poll (Early voters)
(October 19-20, 26-27, 2013)
Washington Post/Abt-SRBI Poll
(October 24-27, 2013)
Garin Hart Young Poll
(October 22-23, 2013)
Christopher Newport University Poll of Likely Voters
(October 25-30, 2013)
AVERAGES 41.56% 39.89% 18.11% +/-2.24 862.78
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

Race background

In March 2013, Governing magazine rated Virginia's open attorney general seat as "vulnerable" heading into the 2013-2014 elections because incumbent Republican Ken Cuccinelli was not running for re-election.[5]

The race to replace Cuccinelli began at the primary nomination stage; both Republican convention and Democratic election candidates drew primary contests. On May 18, two "strong fiscal and social conservatives"[5] -- state Sen. Mark Obenshain and state Rep. Rob Bell -- competed for delegate votes at the Republican Party of Virginia's closed nominating convention, which Obenshain won.[6] The nominee's late father, GOP politician Richard Obenshain, died in a plane crash during his 1978 campaign for U.S. Senate. Obenshain faced state Sen. Mark Herring in the general election. Herring defeated former assistant U.S. Attorney for Virginia Justin Fairfax in the Democratic primary election, which took place on June 11, 2013.[7][5]

Although Obenshain was considered the early front-runner, polls showed Herring leading by a very slim margin in late October 2013, a likely effect, or occupational hazard, for Obenshain, of sharing what had become a contaminated GOP ticket. One week before election day, at least two influential backers - Planned Parenthood and Independence USA PAC - hoped to widen the gap with roughly one million dollars worth of media spots lampooning Obenshain for his past support of a "personhood" amendment, which would have banned birth control and abortions regardless of the circumstances," in addition to his stance against increased background checks on prospective gun owners. Independence USA PAC was heavily driven by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The PAC had already invested millions into ads hammering "far-right" Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli for his affiliation with the National Rifle Assocation (NRA), and the buys against Obenshain sought to lump the lesser-known AG contender together with Cuccinelli, who was the most recognizable, and possiblly most troubled, candidate appearing on the party's statewide ticket in 2013. Meanwhile, the NRA went on the counterattack; the organization unleashed a $500,000 anti-Herring ad into targeted Virginia markets.[8][9] The NRA's assistance paled in comparison, however, to the $2.6 million infusion from the Republican State Leadership Committee into the effort to elect Obenshain, whom the committee viewed as the only hope for preventing Democrats from scoring a clean sweep of the state-row races in 2013.[10]


  • The Richmond Times-Dispatch[11]
  • The Republican State Leadership Committee[12]
  • Vietnam veteran Hispanic activists Luis R. Quinonez and Daniel P. Cortez[13]
  • Sheriff Octavia Johnson (R-Roanoke City)[14]
  • Sheriff Jack Stutts (D-City of Franklin and Southampton County)[14]
  • Hampton Roads Business Leaders: Mayor Will Sessoms, Bruce Thompson, Suzzy Kelly, Tom Frantz, and John O. 'Dubby' Wynne[15]

Campaign ads

"Mark and Tucker" features Obenshain's daughter touting his record advocating for "mandatory life sentences for child predators and protecting families from abusive spouses." Released September 24, 2013

"Trust" recaps message from the previous ad, further highlighting Obenshain's toughness on handling domestic violence and sex crimes. Released October 1, 2013

In "Truth," supporters praise Obenshain as a prosecutor and protector of woman and families, disputes related attacks from opponent Mark Herring's campaign. Released October 16, 2013

Campaign finance

Mark Obenshain[16] Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
Post-Primary ReportJuly 15, 2013$68,132.75$479,915.89$(745,285.67)$487,044.36
8 Day Pre-General ReportOctober 28, 2013$320,221.30$2,547,469.22$(2,616,065.77)$251,624.75
Running totals


On November 8, 2011, Obenshain won re-election to District 26 of the Virginia State Senate. He was unchallenged in the August 23 primary election and ran unopposed in the November 8 general election.[17]


On Nov. 6, 2007, Obenshain won re-election to the 26th District Seat in the Virginia State Senate, defeating opponent Maxine Roles (D).[18]

Obenshain raised $234,105 for his campaign while Roles raised $13,989.[19]

Virginia State Senate, District 26 (2007)
Candidates Votes Percent
Green check mark transparent.png Mark Obenshain (R) 25,955 70.40%
Maxine Roles (D) 10,862 29.46%

Campaign donors


In 2011, Obenshain received $296,741 in campaign donations. The top contributors are listed below.[20]

Virginia State Senate 2011 election - Campaign Contributions
Top contributors to Mark Obenshain's campaign in 2011
Virginia Trial Lawyers Association$13,000
Allen Allen Allen & Allen$12,000
Virginia Senate Republican Caucus$6,689
Massie For Delegate$5,000
Silver Honaker Equity LLC$5,000
Total Raised in 2011 $296,741


Below are Obenshain's top five campaign contributors in the 2007 election:

Contributor 2007 total
David K. Rensin $25,000
Virginia Trial Lawyers Association $8,000
Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen (Lawyers) $5,000
2007 Conservative Victory Committee $5,000
Virginia Association of Realtors $4,964


Obenshain was born in Richmond, Virginia on June 11, 1962. He is married to Suzanne Speas Obenshain. He is a member of the First Presbyterian Church.

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External links

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  1. 1.0 1.1 Mark Obenshain for Attorney General, "Official Campaign Website 2013," accessed December 10, 2012
  2. The Washington Post, "Va. GOP settles on Cuccinelli, Obenshain and Jackson for November ballot," May 19, 2013
  3. The Washington Post, "Virginia GOP picks staunch conservatives as statewide candidates," May 18, 2013
  4. Mark Obenshain for Attorney General, "Mark's Priorities," accessed May 20, 2013
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Governing, "The 2013-2014 Attorneys General Races: Who's Vulnerable?," March 25, 2013
  6. The Washington Post, "Va. GOP settles on Cuccinelli, Obenshain and Jackson for November ballot," May 19, 2013
  7. Blue Virginia, "Virginia Primary Election Results Live Blog," June 11, 2013
  8. Politico, "Michael Bloomberg hits Virginia attorney general candidate," October 29, 2013
  9. Politico, "Planned Parenthood targets Mark Obenshain in ad," October 29, 2013
  10. Washington Post, "National Republican group gives an additional $660K to Obenshain campaign for Virginia AG," October 26, 2013
  11. Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Editorial: Obenshain for AG," October 20, 2013
  12. National Journal, "Republicans Move Cash Down-Ballot to Deny Dems the Virginia Sweep," October 21, 2013
  13. Mark Obenshain for Attorney General 2014 Official campaign website, "Press story: Independent Hispanic Activists Endorse Obenshain for Attorney General," October 11, 2013
  14. 14.0 14.1 Mark Obenshain for Attorney General 2014 Official campaign website, "Press story: 59 Virginia Sheriffs Endorse Mark Obenshain for Attorney General," September 29, 2013
  15. Mark Obenshain for Attorney General 2014 Official campaign website, "Press story: Hampton Roads Business Leaders Endorse Mark Obenshain for Attorney General," October 9, 2013
  16. Virginia State Board of Elections, "Campaign Finance Report: Obenshain for Attorney General," July 15, 2013
  17. Virginia State Board of Elections - November 2011 General Election Official Results
  18. 2007 Election Results, Virginia Senate, District 26
  19. 2007 Campaign Spending, Virginia Senate, District 26
  20. Follow the Money - 2011 contributions
Political offices
Preceded by
Kevin G. Miller
Virginia Senate District 26
Succeeded by