Who Paid for the Attorney General Recount, Anyway?

If you’re subscribed to recieve emails from either attorney general candidate or candidate’s biggest supporters, you’ve likely seen requests to contribute to the recount fund.

The Daily Press in Hampton Roads calculated the donations and found that Mark Obenshain (R) lead Mark Herring (D) by a huge margin in fundraising for the recount.

The Daily Press’s chart can be found here.

Attorney General Race Recount Begins

mark+obenshain+mark+herringMark Herring’s (D) 165-vote win headed to a recount yesterday. A total of 133 localities will recount a total of 2.2 million votes cast last month in the statewide election to determine the winner of the attorney general’s race. Fairfax County and the City of Alexandria began yesterday morning at 7 a.m.; all other localities began this morning.

On November 27, Republican attorney general candidate Mark D. Obenshain requested a recount of the votes due to the very tight margin of Herring’s win. However, recounts don’t usually change the outcomes, according to University of Virginia Center for Politics head Larry Sabato.

Speaking to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Sabato says, “A recount is an extension of the political wars after the election night armistice. The stakes are very high for both parties, plus the candidates, their staffs, and families are exhausted by the long campaign and now the overtime process.”

By the end of the week, Virginia can breathe a sigh of relief and know that the statewide elections have been officially decided and all ballots are counted.

Attorney General Race is Finally Decided

It only took a week, but on Wednesday morning it was decided that Senator Mark Herring (D) would become the new attorney general, succeeding Ken Cuccinelli (R). Herring beat out Republican Senator Mark Obenshain by only 163 votes out of 2.2 million cast, according to Time.

This outcome for Herring means that the Democrats have completely swept the state of Virginia, which may come as a surprise to some. Virginia hasn’t had a Democrat governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and both senators since 1969, according to The Daily Beast.

The success by the Democrats has made the GOP look awfully weak and extremely conservative to many voters. Ken Cuccinelli, E.W. Jackson and Mark Obenshain have all gone through terrible scrutiny during this election season. Many of their campaign messages were analyzed by both voters and the media, and thought to be very harsh for a slight majority of voters.

With the Democrats holding all of the positions, it’s going to make a GOP comeback very hard and not likely to happen. If these men do well in office, the Republicans have a lot of ground to make up. The Democrats have four years to get the state to where they want it to be, and, by 2016, the Republicans could be facing another very tough election.

Recount Likely in Attorney General Race

61275039_4934cdf327Though the election was last week, Virginians still don’t know who the new attorney general will be.

As of this morning, CNN reports a very marginal lead for Mark Herring (D): 0.01 percent. This small margin is well within the realms of a recount petition; the State Board of Elections allows recounts for any difference of one percent or less. Today is also the deadline for all localities to finish their vote canvasses. The board will certify the election on November 25, and changes in the vote count are typical between the election and the certification.

Neither Obenshain (R) or Herring (D) is conceding the race and both camps are expecting a win.

Is this the End for Ken Cuccinelli?

According to the Daily Kos, the final polls seem to show Republican Ken Cuccinelli falling below Democrat Terry McAuliffe, with a score of 51-39. Among women, McAuliffe leads 58-34 and this could greatly be attributed to Cuccinelli’s social conservatism and his stances on issues that significantly affect women.

Terry McAuliffe has raised a more compelling amount of money with $1.6 million left on hand, while Cuccinelli only has $604,000. By having more money, McAuliffe and his campaign team have been able to create more TV advertisements attacking his opponent, which could be a huge factor as to why the numbers have jumped so much in his favor.

It’s been nine years since the governor of Virginia has been from the same party of the President. If McAuliffe wins this race, like it’s looking, the long streak will end. McAuliffe shouldn’t feel too good though because in one of the questions in the poll it asks, “Is your vote for McAuliffe or more against Cuccinelli?” and 64% said it’s against Cuccinelli, which means McAuliffe still might not be as liked as he thinks.

In the Lt. Governor’s race, it also looks like the Democrats are going to win, with Ralph Northam ahead of E.W. Jackson with a score of 52-39. In the attorney general race, looking to take over for Ken Cuccinelli, Mark Herring (D) is also leading Mark Obenshain 49-46 as of Monday’s recent polls.

It looks like the Democrats are going to take over in every race and we’ll see if this final week can change anything for the Republicans.

Democrats Continue to Release Television Ads

On Tuesday morning, the Democrats running for lieutenant governor and attorney general both released more TV ads to help themselves in attempts to hopefully give them a final push in the last two weeks of their election races.

Senator Ralph Northam (D), who is running for lieutenant governor against Republican minister E.W. Jackson, released an ad that highlighted Northam’s personal side  and showed some of his accomplishments in the military and as a pediatric neurologist.

In the ad he says, “I have treated wounded soldiers and children with brain injuries. I believe in service, especially to those who have fought for our freedom, and to those who are our future.”

Jackson and his campaign team declined to comment about the ad, but The Washington Post quotes a fundraising letter from the minister: “Make no mistake my friends, electing Ralph Northam would be a disaster for Virginia.”

In a separate race to succeed Ken Cuccinelli as attorney general, Democratic nominee, state Senator Mark Herring, released an ad that seemed to directly target his opponent, Sen. Mark D. Obenshain (R).

In the ad, Herring highlights all of the times Obenshain has made comments Herring thinks will be bad for Virginia. Herring’s ad also directly ties him to Ken Cuccinelli, who is the Republican nominee running for governor. He says, “Obenshain and Cuccinelli: When you focus on their record it’s clear they’re wrong for Virginia.”

In response, Paul Logan, Obenshain’s spokesman, was quoted in that same Washington Post article as saying, “Mark Herring is engaged in the same negative politics as usual that has him down in the polls, behind in fundraising, and without a positive reason for voters to support him.”

The governor’s race is not the only election race in Virginia that is heating up with less than two weeks to go. Will these ads by Ralph Northam and Mark Herring hurt their chances at winning or will it secure their spot?

Did the Democratic Party Violate Campaign Finance Rules?

The GOP of Virginia accused an out-of-state Democratic organization of concealing identities of the contributors to the Democratic attorney general nominee Mark Herring. Concealing these identities is a violation of campaign finance disclosure laws and the GOP has filed a complaint with the Virginia State Board of Elections.

They also want the board to look into suspicious filings by a Denver-based Democratic Attorney General Association that would cost them $685,000. Pat Mullins, Virginia GOP chairman, said they failed to report the money and then spent it on Herring’s campaign. Of course, the Association has denied any wrongdoing and in an article published by The Washington Post, Mark Herring’s spokesman, Kevin O’Holleran said, “We have reported all of our contributions in full accordance with Virginia’s laws and have disclosed every donation we have received to date.”

For anyone who didn’t know, Mark Herring (D) and Senator Mark D. Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) are running for attorney general, the current position of Republican gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli. Like the governor’s race, the attorney general race has been too close to call, but recent poll numbers point to a Democratic win. Will the same be true for the attorney general race?

Right now, it’s hard to know the truth, but the Denver-based group’s executive director, Berry, released a statement saying, “We believe we are in compliance in Virginia. We established the committees and reported, or so we thought.”

The Future of Virginia Law Rests in Voters’ Hands

The race for attorney general may not be highlighted as much as the Virginia governor’s race; however, this race is just as important as the governor’s race and can make changes for the state of Virginia based on the choice made on Election Day.
Election Day outcomes will show voters’ decisions on who will serve as the commonwealth’s top lawyer, overseeing a public law firm with 400-employees. All of these employees review, interpret and defend laws in Virginia.  
While in the Senate, Mark Obenshain (R) and Mark Herring (D) have had separate views on many topics, including the Affordable Care Act and other hotly contested issues in Virginia.
According to the Washington Post, Obenshain has opposed the new federal health-care law and environmental regulations on coal and storm water, as well as sponsored legislation to strengthen property rights and promote school choice. In his effort to become top lawyer, he has stressed his legislative record related to criminal law, including sponsorship of bills that increased penalties for repeat drug offenders and sexual predators.
“We’ve got to stand up and push back when the federal government steps over the line,” Obenshain said at an October debate. “And I will do that.”
On the other side, Obenshain’s opponent Herring is in support of the Affordable Care Act.
In 2012, when the Affordable Care Act was upheld by the Supreme Court, Herring made the following statement: “While this isn’t a perfect plan, I applaud Chief Justice Roberts and the Supreme Court for affirming the constitutionality of President Obama’s signature legislative achievement: healthcare reform. As a member of Virginia’s Health Reform Initiative, and a member of the Senate Commerce and Labor Subcommittee on Health Exchanges, I look forward to working with the Governor, the Attorney General and my colleagues in the General Assembly to implement this law in the best possible way so that our citizens will receive the maximum benefit of healthcare reform.”
Herring has also been critical of Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, a candidate who is almost Obenshain’s political twin and whose footsteps Obenshain is expected to follow.
“Time and again, [Cuccinelli] has bent and twisted the law and misused and abused the power of the office in order to advance personal ambition and an extreme ideological agenda,” Herring said of Cuccinelli in the October debate. “Senator Obenshain would be a continuation of what we’ve got.”
Gay marriage and the Affordable Care Act aside, here’s a infographic outlining where these two candidates stand on a few other hot issues.
For a full breakdown of Senator Obenshain’s voting and record and stances on issues, check out this page at votesmart.org, a non-partisan educational organization designed to help voters choose candidates smartly. For more information on Senator Herring’s voting and record and stances, check out his page at Vote Smart.
Whatever the issue may be, the race is far from over and the future of Virginia law is in voters’ hands.

State Senator Mark Herring (D-33rd) has Received the Endorsement of Many Republicans

Herring for Attorney General

Herring for Attorney General

As reported by the Loudon Times, the list of Herring supporters includes Republicans such as Purceville Mayor Bob Lazaro and Virginia Lawmakers Russ Potts and Anne Rhodes.

The endorsements are the result of the Herring campaign’s effective efforts to attract moderate and Independent voters and to show Republican opponent State Senator Mark Obenshain (R-26th) as an adherent Tea Partier.

In a press call on Wednesday, Potts called Herring the “type of leader Virginia needs” saying “he knows how to set aside partisanship.” Former Virginia Delegate Katherine Waddell also participated in the call, said that Obenshain would “turn back the clock on women’s reproductive rights. He sponsored the ‘personhood bill’ with Ken Cuccinelli and he called the transvaginal ultrasound bill ‘common sense legislation’.”

Herring has also received support from interest groups such as the Virginia Police Benevolent Association, the Virginia Education Association, the Virginia AFL-CIO, and the Virginia Association of Realtors. Obenshain touts that he has received the support of 56 Commonwealth attorneys, 22 Independents, and 34 Republicans.

In a press release on Wednesday, the Herring campaign list other Republicans as supporters as well. See the list below:

John Andrews – Former Chair, Loudoun County School Board
L. Preston Bryant, Jr. – Former Member, Virginia House of Delegates
John Chichester –  Former Member, Virginia Senate (President Pro Tempore)
Jim Dillard – Former Member, Virginia House of Delegates
Nicholas Graham – Former Press Secretary, U. S. Senators John Chafee and Olympia Snowe; Former Senior Policy Analyst for the National Republican Senatorial Committee; Former Member, Loudoun County Republican Committee
Jimmy Hazel – Chairman of Virginia FREE, and former Chairman of the Virginia Board of Game and Inland Fisheries
Robert Lazaro – Mayor, Town of Purcellville
Michael Pocalyko – Former Member, National Finance Committee for McCain-Palin 2008; Former District Chair, Fairfax County Republican Committee
Russ Potts ­- Former Member, Virginia Senate
Anne “Panny” Rhodes – Former Member, Virginia House of Delegates
Katherine Waddell – Former Member, Virginia House of Delegates; National Board Member, Republican Majority for Choice

Candidates Attend Prosecutors’ Convention


All four candidates for governor and attorney general attended the prosecutors’ convention on Friday, according to The Washington Post.

Ken Cuccinelli, Terry McAuliffe, Mark Obenshain and Mark Herring all vowed to increase prosecutors’ salaries, if elected.

They each spoke for ten minutes to the Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys.

The lieutenant governor candidates were invited but declined to attend.

McAuliffe focused on the negative effects of Cuccinelli’s tax-cut proposal while Herring focused on his support for tougher gun laws. He stated that Obenshain received support from the Virginia Citizens Defense League.