"Even as both candidates have suggested the office of the attorney general isn't partisan, the political philosophies underpinning their candidacies make it clear that the role of the office, like law, is subject to interpretation. ...
"Herring has said he wouldn't defend Virginia's anti-sodomy statute because it's clearly unconstitutional. Obenshain said he didn't know yet whether he had a basis to continue Cuccinelli's defense of the law, which has been used for years to prosecute predatory child abusers.
"Whoever wins this race will interpret the legality of Virginia's constitutional amendment defining marriage, the recent state laws reforming public education, federal environmental regulations and more."
Shawn Day, an opinion columnist for The Virginian-Pilot newspaper, in a column published Sunday arguing that the outcome of the attorney general's race between state Sens. Mark Herring (D-Loudoun, Fairfax counties) and Mark Obenshain (Harrisonburg, Rockingham, Rappahannock, Page, Warren, Shenandoah counties) will have a much greater impact on the commonwealth than any other statewide race this year, despite being overshadowed by the more high-profile races for governor and lieutenant governor. Citing Virginia's history of politically active attorneys general who later run for governor, Day notes: "Regardless of who wins the governor's race, the next attorney general will help frame the national perception of Virginia, and his name is likely to appear at the top of the 2017 ballot."
[Photo 1: Sen. Mark Herring (courtesy of Virginia General Assembly); Photo 2: Sen. Mark Obenshain (courtesy of Virginia General Assembly).]