AG candidates trade barbs in new television ads

State Sen. Mark R. Herring of Loudoun County, the Democratic candidate for attorney general, rolled out a new television ad, highlighting his opponent’s relationship with Consol Energy, a Philadelphia based company that has donated $15,000 to the campaign of state Sen. Mark D. Obenshain of Harrisonburg, the Republican nominee.

According to a state inspector general’s report, one of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s deputies “inappropriately” advised two natural gas companies – including Consol Energy, one of Cuccinelli’s largest campaign contributors  – that are being sued by Southwest Virginia property owners. But the attorney’s superiors were not aware of it at the time, the report concludes.

In an email released by his campaign, Herring underscored his belief that “the donation that Mark Obenshain took after the scandal was exposed was nothing more than a down payment from Consol Energy to Mark Obenshain to continue the special treatment the company has experienced under Ken Cuccinelli.” Herring’s new television, titled “Property,” frames the “Obenshain-Cuccinelli approach” as “right for Consol, but wrong for Virginia.”

Obenshain countered Herring’s attacks with his own ad, touting his recent endorsement by the Fraternal Order of Police, an organization representing more than 7,500 members of law enforcement throughout Virginia, and by 116 Virginia sheriffs and prosecutors, including several Independents and Democrats. In his 30-second spot titled “Truth”, Obenshain called out Herring for his “false attacks” on his character, which “completely disregard” his work to “protect women and children from violence and sexual predators.”

Obenshain’s campaign manager Chris Leavitt said in a statement that while Herring resorts to “the negative smear tactics that Virginia voters are quite frankly sick of, Mark Obenshain will continue to reach Virginians talking about what he’ll do to make public safety a top priority as attorney general.”