December 18, 2013 at 3:40 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Mark Obenshain concedes Virginia attorney general race

Mark Obenshain, Virginia, Republican Party, Culpeper, gay news, Washington Blade

Mark Obenshain speaks in Culpeper, Va., on Nov. 4, 2013. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

State Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) on Wednesday conceded to state Sen. Mark Herring (D-Loudoun County) in the Virginia attorney general’s race.

“It was a vigorous and hard fought campaign,” Obenshain told reporters during a Richmond press conference. “It’s over.”

Obenshain’s announcement comes two days after the State Board of Elections began its recount of the results of the Nov. 4 election that is the closest statewide contest in Virginia history.

The State Board of Elections on Nov. 27 certified that Herring defeated the Harrisonburg Republican by 165 votes. The Washington Post reported the Loudoun County Democrat’s lead over Obenshain grew to more than 810 votes on Tuesday.

“It’s apparent our campaign is going to come up a few votes short,” said Obenshain.

Former Democratic National Committee Chair Terry McAuliffe last month defeated outgoing Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in the Virginia gubernatorial race. State Sen. Ralph Northam (D-Norfolk) will become the commonwealth’s next lieutenant governor after he easily beat Chesapeake minister E.W. Jackson.

“This was an extraordinarily close election,” said Herring after Obenshain conceded. “I want to reassure everyone that, as I said on the campaign trail, I will wake up every day to fight for justice, equality, and opportunity for all Virginians.”

Obenshain, Cuccinelli and Jackson faced persistent criticism from gay rights advocates and Democrats during the campaign for their opposition to marriage rights for same-sex couples and efforts to ban discrimination against LGBT state employees.

“I’m glad we finally have a resolution to this race,” gay state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) told the Washington Blade after Obenshain’s conceded. “The citizens of Virginia can look forward to an attorney general who is just not favorable, but an outspoken supporter for equality.”

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

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