Our View: Obenshain — the ‘son’ also rises?

Posted: November 7, 2013

All recent dates aside — this most recent Election Day in particular — the night of Aug. 2, 1978, was one of the darkest in the modern history of Virginia’s Republican Party.

On that date, a small plane carrying newly minted Republican U.S. Senate nominee Richard D. Obenshain crashed in Chesterfield County. His son Mark was 16 at the time.

Though but 42 when he died, the elder Mr. Obenshain had already attained iconic status within GOP circles as a party-builder, a visionary, and a robust conservative. A distinguished senatorial career seemingly awaited.

Mark Obenshain assumed his father’s mantle, and has worn it well, first as a state senator and now, perhaps, as Virginia’s next attorney general.

That victory, though, is far from certain. As we write this editorial, with all 2,558 precincts reporting, Mr. Obenshain holds a small lead over his Democratic opponent, state Sen. Mark Herring of Leesburg. A seesaw contest has seen both men seize the upper hand in the balloting.

Mark Obenshain, an authentic Valley voice from Harrisonburg, ran a race that would have made his father proud — upbeat, positive, resilient . . . and unabashedly conservative, albeit in a way that attracted support among independents and even Democrats. Tuesday’s results showed clear evidence of ticket-splitting.

And so, on an otherwise cloudy night statewide for the GOP, a “son” also rose. May the inevitable recount reaffirm that rising.