Last night Delegate Rob Bell and Senator Mark Obenshain, the two candidates competing for the Republican nomination for Attorney General, debated each other at an event hosted by the Republican National Lawyers Association. The debate was held at George Mason University’s Arlington campus with former Governor and Attorney General Jim Gilmore as the moderator.
Both candidates did a great job. Both candidates illustrated their vast knowledge of our legal system. Both candidates presented their conservative credentials. Both candidates offered their vision for how the AG office should run. Both candidates…. kept agreeing with each other. So where was the contrast? Gilmore tried to stir things up in the beginning when he asked each of them to point out something they disagree on. Neither took the bait and Gilmore responded lightheartedly by saying “you guys are no fun at all,” which was met by laughter from the audience.
The only difference I noticed last night was that one writes with his right hand and the other uses his left, which doesn’t help me choose who to vote for. But I do appreciate the civility in this contest. I have seen other races for a party’s nomination go negative from the start and it is unfortunate when that happens. Some races you can tell that the candidates just plain resent the other’s presence in the race and there is nothing democratic about that. Here we have something almost unique; both of these candidates truly respect each other. That is certainly a sign of strength going into the General Election. One of these two great candidates will face off against a Democrat in November. With an issue like ObamaCare looming over our economy and setting a troubling precedent of intrusive federal overreach we really need a conservative stalwart as the Commonwealth’s top lawyer to fight for federalism. The Democrats are poised to lay down and let President Obama’s vision of nearly unlimited federal power reign supreme. As our next Attorney General either one of these tested and true Republicans will be the voice Virginia needs to maintain the integrity of the Founder’s vision of a federal/state system that limits the government’s role in our lives.
Whoever wins at the convention in May will have my unbridled support.