Obenshain wins easily in Senate race

Mark Obenshain

Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, coasted to an easy victory over Democratic challenger April Moore in Tuesday’s election in the 26th state Senate district.

With all precincts reporting, unofficial returns showed Obenshain winning with 68 percent of the vote and Moore with 32 percent.

“I’m just honored and privileged to have the opportunity to represent one of the best districts in Virginia,” Obenshain said, adding that he is “a veteran of close elections, and I prefer a wide margin to a narrow margin.”

Moore said she entered the race realizing she was “a long shot” in a district that usually votes heavily Republican. Still, she said the campaign was a good opportunity to talk to voters about the issues that were most important to her.

“It was very worthwhile to me to put my heart and soul in this effort to create a better Virginia,” Moore said. “Winning is better, but I feel good about what we accomplished.”

April Moore

Obenshain and Moore disagreed to one degree or another on every issue they discussed. She focused on fighting global warming and cracking down on lavish campaign spending, especially by corporations.

Obenshain said global warming worries should not divert state government from its usual focus on education, public safety and transportation.

Obenshain also argued that Moore’s criticism of corporate influence over elections ignored the amount of money pouring into Democratic legislative campaigns from well-heeled out-of-state donors.

The candidates also disagreed on Medicaid expansion, which Moore favored and Obenshain opposed.

The 26th District includes Harrisonburg and part of Rockingham County, and Warren, Shenandoah, Page and Rappahannock counties.

Obenshain, an attorney, was first elected to the Senate in 2003, and is currently co-chairman of the Senate’s courts of justice committee. He has also gained prominence in statewide politics since running for attorney general in 2013 and narrowly losing to Democrat Mark Herring.

More recently, Obenshain was considered a likely candidate for governor in 2017 until he announced he would remain in the Senate for the foreseeable future.

In other legislative races, Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel, R-Upperville, ran unopposed in the 27th District around Winchester. Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Woodstock, was also unopposed in the 15th House District and Del. Michael Webert had no opponent in the 18th District.

Republican Christopher Collins, a defense attorney from Winchester, won without opposition in the 29th House District after defeating incumbent Mark Berg in the Republican primary earlier this year.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com