If Obenshain ends up losing

November 13, 2013
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Your thought experiment for today is based upon an assumption:

Assume, for a moment, that the final numbers in the still-undecided Virginia attorney general’s race end up favoring Democrat Mark Herring and, when all the procedural matters come to a close, he is declared the winner.

Not good news for the GOP. Or is it?

The Repulican, Sen. Mark Obenshain, returns to Richmond bruised but with a much higher profile. Does he use it to mount a challenge to Tommy Norment for Senate majority leader? Given the caucus’s make-up, the votes might be there for him to do so. And if such a challenge is successful, does Norment stick around, or does he decide to seek greener pastures outside the General Assembly?

And let’s consider one more thing:

The General Assembly session begins Jan. 8, with Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling presiding. Inauguration day isn’t until Jan. 11. So for a brief time, the GOP will still have control of the Senate — depending on when the results of special elections to fill incoming Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam’s seat and a contest to replace either Obenshain or Herring, are finalized.

There is speculation brewing that these few days could see a Senate fight over rules and committee control. The Richmond establishment is already laying bets on how ugly this might get. Their other bet? The fight over Medicaid expansion could lead the session into double overtime, with business not finished until sometime in June. That raises the specter of a state government shutdown. Of course, a deal could be brokered before things get out of hand (as Richmond Times-Dispatch columnist Jeff Schapiro suggests in his weekend column) that would trade tax cuts of some sort of Medicaid expansion.

And to think some people believed there would be nothing to talk about after the election.

Norman Leahy blogs at Bearing Drift. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

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Peter Galuszka | November 12, 2013