|Virginia Senate District 26|
|2004 - Present|
|January 11, 2016|
|Years in position||11|
|Elections and appointments|
|Last election||November 8, 2011|
|Next general||November 3, 2015|
|Date of birth||06/11/1962|
|Place of birth||Richmond, VA|
Obenshain received a B.A. at Virginia Tech in 1984 and a J.D. at Lee University School of Law in 1987. He is a member of the First Presbyterian Church.
In addition to serving as a senator Obenshain works as an attorney.
In the 2012-2013 legislative session, Obenshain served on the following committees:
- Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources
- Commerce and Labor Committee
- Courts of Justice
- Privileges and Elections, Chairman
In the 2010-2011 legislative session, Obenshain served on the following committees:
- Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources
- Courts of Justice
- Local Government
- Privileges and Elections
- See also: Virginia attorney general election, 2013
Obenshain is seeking the Republican nomination for Attorney General of Virginia in 2013. The Republican Party of Virginia is holding a statewide primary convention to select its nominee for attorney general on May 17-18.
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.
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" -- 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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
Obenshain raised $234,105 for his campaign while Roles raised $13,989.
|Virginia State Senate, District 26 (2007)|
|Mark Obenshain (R)||25,955||70.40%|
|Maxine Roles (D)||10,862||29.46%|
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."
In 2011, Obenshain received $296,741 in campaign donations. The top contributors are listed below.
|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 5 campaign contributors in the 2007 election:
|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.
- Mark Obenshain - Official Campaign Website
- Biography from the Virginia Legislature
- Legislative profile from Project Vote Smart
- Biography from Project Vote Smart
- Campaign contributions:2003, 2005, 2007
- Mark Obenshain on Facebook
- Mark Obenshain for Attorney General, "Official Campaign Website 2013," accessed December 10, 2012
- Governing, "The 2013-2014 Attorneys General Races: Who's Vulnerable?," March 25, 2013
- The Washington Post, "Va. GOP settles on Cuccinelli, Obenshain and Jackson for November ballot," May 19, 2013
- Blue Virginia, "Virginia Primary Election Results Live Blog," June 11, 2013
- Politico, "Michael Bloomberg hits Virginia attorney general candidate," October 29, 2013
- Politico, "Planned Parenthood targets Mark Obenshain in ad," October 29, 2013
- Washington Post, "National Republican group gives an additional $660K to Obenshain campaign for Virginia AG," October 26, 2013
- Virginia State Board of Elections - November 2011 General Election Official Results
- 2007 Election Results, Virginia Senate, District 26
- 2007 Campaign Spending, Virginia Senate, District 26
- Follow the Money - 2011 contributions
Kevin G. Miller
|Virginia Senate District 26
| Succeeded by|