Cuccinelli effect: Rob Bell and Obenshain eye AG job
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's recent decision to seek the Republican nomination for governor in 2013 has opened the door for those who'd like his job, including Harrisonburg state Senator Mark Obenshain and local Delegate Rob Bell.
"I had been looking at it the past few years, but until Ken Cuccinelli decided to run for governor, the position wasn't open," says Bell, who officially announces his run December 6 in Richmond.
Former Orange prosecutor Bell, 44, has represented the 58th District, which includes northeastern parts of Albemarle, since 2001, and has built a legislative record as a law-and-order guy. Drunk driving, bullying, and keeping sex offenders out of schools are areas in which he's carried multiple bills.
As the AG, Cuccinelli has been involved in several high-profile battles including a quest for emails from climate scientist Michael Mann, a legal challenge to so-called "Obamacare," and– most recently– a fight against Charlottesville resident Hunter Craig's quest for millions in conservation tax credits.
As for Obenshain, elected to the state Senate in 2003, he hails from Virginia Republican royalty. His father, Richard Obenshain, chaired the Republican Party of Virgina and co-chaired the Republican National Committee in the '70s, and was running for U.S. senator in August 1978 when his airplane crashed. His death opened the way for John Warner to become the GOP nominee and then senator.
Mark Obenshain's sister, Kate Obenshain, also served as state GOP chair. Until Cuccinelli made his announcement, Obenshain, 49, was reported to be interested in a run for lieutenant governor.