Decision 2013 Meet the Candidate: Mark Obenshain - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Decision 2013 Meet the Candidate: Mark Obenshain

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Mark Obenshain Mark Obenshain

With weeks to go until Election Day, the race for attorney general is a toss-up because polls shows most voters don't know enough about the candidates. Thursday we introduced you to the Democrat running for office, now we meet Mark Obenshain, the Republican vying for your vote.

“What separates us as candidates is the focus of our races. I'm focused on what I’m going to do as attorney general,”Obenshain said.

Obenshain says that won't come down to personal politics, but the law. “Whether I agree with the underlying policies on those subjects, I would defend without hesitation,” he said. “What that involves is making a threshold determination as to whether there's a good faith basis for defending any of those laws.”

Obenshain has served in the state Senate since 2004, representing parts of the Shenandoah Valley. His conservative record has become a lightning rod for criticism by his opponent, democratic state Senator Mark Herring, who says Obenshain is running from that record.

“They’re going to continue to launch their attacks; I’m going to continue to stay focused,” Obenshain said.

University of Virginia Center for Politics analyst Geoff Skelley says the outcome of the race will likely be driven by who wins the governorship. “I think it's very clear that Obenshain is trying to moderate himself for the general election,” he said.

But Obenshain's cash advantage will help him, as will some family ties. His father, Richard Obenshain, helped lead the state Republican Party before his death in 1978.

Skelley stated, “Most of the Republicans who know anything about the history of the party in the state are going to be backing Mark Obenshain.” The trick, Skelley says, will be convincing moderates and independents to do the same.

Herring and Obenshain will meet Wednesday for a live debate, hosted by the Loudon County Chamber of Commerce.

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