Rob Bell Running for Attorney General

Delegate Rob Bell has announced that he’ll seek the Republican nomination for Attorney General in the 2013 election, Ted Strong reports for the Daily Progress. The Republican, an attorney, has represented the conservative 58th District since 2002, a district that draws the bulk of its population from Albemarle County. Bell’s interest in the job has been well-known for years, and he’s long maintained one of the largest amounts of cash on hand in the House of Delegates, despite being in a safely conservative district. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said yesterday that he intends to run for governor, so the Republicans interested in running for AG weren’t going to wait long to make their candidacy announcements. Bell has clearly been preparing for an AG race: he’s the chair of the Virginia Crime Commission, and legislative portfolio has always consisted mostly of crime-related bills. (During this year’s session alone he introduced a dozen bills on that topic.) He’s never faced a strong challenger, having been challenged in only half of his races, winning those races with 60%, 62%, and 67% of the vote.

Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) is another likely candidate, and he’ll pose a strong challenge to Bell. Obenshain comes from a powerful Virginia family. His sister, Kate Obenshain, used to be the executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia, and his father, Richard Obenshain, was a major political figure in Virginia for two decades, until his death in a 1978 plane crash. (Obenshain was the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate at the time. John Warner was selected to replace him, won election, and remained in that position for 31 years.) The Republican Party of Virginia’s headquarters, in fact, is named the The Richard D. Obenshain Center. Sen. Obenshain is also a friend of Cuccinelli’s, no small detail for those interested in having a unified ticket on the 2012 ballot.

8 Responses to “Rob Bell Running for Attorney General”


  • He’s going to have to decide whether he wants to run for reelection to his seat at the same time as he runs for the AG nomination. The most common path for candidates to take in this situation is to run for both and then, if they get the nomination, to then step down from their seat.

    If he does step down, it’ll be interesting to see who decides to run. The new 58th District is more conservative than ever (65% of the population voted for McDonnell, and it’s gained whites while losing all other races), so the Republican nomination would really constitute the race itself. I suspect Ken Boyd would run—his campaign for Congress shows he’s interested in higher office, and having just won reelection to his BOS seat against a well-funded challenger, he’s probably feeling pretty good. The district now sprawls clear across the mountains to Elkton, Shenandoah, and McGaheysville, and I don’t know that area at all, so there may well be some strong candidates to be found there, too.

  • A news story loaded with background information? A shocking change for the Prog under Media General, which reliably produces shallow minimalist reporting devoid of history, written by disinterested greenhorns on their way through town.

  • Well, I larded up my writing here with with a lot of background information of my own. :) You won’t anything about the Obenshain family in the Progress coverage. To be fair, I assume Strong was more focused on getting this story out before deadline than providing the life history of Bell’s opponent. ;)

  • By chance, on Tuesday someone was recounting for UVa students the history of Charlottesville’s false alarm “vote fraud scandal” of 1971. Dick Obenshain was the GOP hired gun who brashly swept into town from Richmond, press releases blaring, to destroy the Dems.

    Alas for Dick, he silently slipped off home, tail between his legs, after three days when it came out that, far from a stolen vote, a well-known Republican had voted for his lawyer, Democrat Tom Michie, rather than for the Republican, Joe Wright.

    How was the sanctity of ballot box secrecy violated and that particular vote discovered 40 years ago? Because Republican George Cason cast an absentee ballot, and it happened to be the only absentee ballot in his precinct!

    Michie won that election by one vote, beginning a notable career in both houses of the state legislature.

  • Now that’s some great background information! I’m sure George enjoys telling that story. :)

  • Rob Bell has been a great Delegate on a lot of issues that matter to me. I am excited to see he’s going to try for the AG spot. He is a natural fit. And quite a step up from Cuccinelli (at least in my book).

  • Rob bell strikes me as the sort of person who in high school reminded the substitute teacher that she had forgotten to collect the homework. The subsequent atomic wedgie that occurred at recess stuck in his craw so severely that he has dedicated his life to imposing and enforcing rules on everything.

    In fact, upon reflection, most politicians remind me of either the alpha sociopathic bullies, and those that were the victims of such and never got over it.

    At least if cuccinelli becomes gov, we can finally see about getting that horribly offensive and jesus infuriating titty off the state seal, so there’s that. The man has priorities.

    With rob bell as AG, all home work will be collected on time (god. damnit.) and the death penalty will be applied to all variety of wedgies.

    I gotta tell you, things in va are looking up! *cough*

  • I’m proud to say that Rob Bell dropped the f-bomb the first and only time I ever spoke to him. To be clear, it wasn’t AT me and he immediately apologized, but still, a bit of a shock given his public image. Unfortunately, he’s the robo-Republican candidate for this time and this state. A statewide campaign would actually be interesting as it would hopefully bring out some hidden depths or non-lockstep thinking. I’d hope to think that the f-bomb signified a willingness to exist outside his rigid self-defined box. The result might be good or it might be terrifying, but it would be different.

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