Aide: Obenshain rules out gubernatorial bid in 2017

Mark Obenshain

RICHMOND — An aide to Virginia Republican state Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, says Obenshain will not be running for governor in 2017.

Nick Collette, a political director for Obenshain, said Monday that his boss has made a decision not to run for statewide office in 2017.

Obenshain narrowly lost the state attorney general election in 2013 and was widely viewed as a possible GOP gubernatorial candidate.

Collette said Obenshain had made the decision not to run for personal reasons.

Other potential GOP candidates for governor include former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie, U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

Craig Orndorff, vice chairman of the Shenandoah County Republican Committee, called Obenshain “a good friend to those of us in Shenandoah County.”

“I personally would like to have seen him run again for state office but he has to do what’s right by his family, and we respect that decision,” Orndorff added.

Obenshain is still running for re-election against Democrat April Moore.

“We on the committee look forward to electing him to another term in November,” Orndorff said.

John Whitlock, chairman of the state Republican Party, said he has “the greatest respect in the world” for Obenshain “and while I believe he would have been our next governor, I respect and admire his decision today.”

Daily staff writer Joe Beck contributed to this story.