Monday, October 21, 2013

No Real Surprise: Virginia Politifact Determines Senator Obenshain’s Campaign Brochure on Sex Offender Legislation and Senator Herring is Mostly False. Fear and Myth About Sexual Predators is Still a Campaign Go-To in 2013

I previously posted about Senator Obenshain’s (who is running for Virginia Attorney General this November) Campaign Commercial where he falsely leads the viewers to believe/assume his opponent Senator Herring is a “sex offender sympathizer”. Obenshain is desperately grasping at straws with the old tried-and-true, never-fails, sexual-predator fear and myth platform to win an election. 

Well Senator Obenshain has stooped even lower. 

The Richmond Times Dispatch Politifact has ruled Senator Obenshain’s latest Sex Offender claim against Senator Herring from a new campaign brochure as Mostly False (see below). 

I have not only observed Senator Obenshain during the last 5 Virginia General Assembly sessions but I have stood on the other side of the podium opposing his bills and opposing other lawmaker’s bills to the Senate Courts of Justice Committee on which he sits.  

We’ve had a few encounters over the years including back in 2010 or 2011 Senator Obenshain attempted to embarrass me as I entered a full elevator in the General Assembly building in Richmond. Senator Obenshain was standing against the back wall of the elevator with another Legislator; there were 4-5 other citizens, lobbyists or staffers and one Virginia State Police official in full uniform. I stepped into the elevator next to the VSP representative and after the doors closed Senator Obenshain announced to the entire elevator but speaking to the VSP executive member that I was the woman who killed their “good” bill against sex offenders. The Senator did this to embarrass me,  but I was not the least bit embarrassed and I took the opportunity that the Senator created to introduce myself and my platform to the member of the VSP and handed him my card. The elevator doors opened and the member of the VSP left as quickly as he could, I turned around, smiled at Senator Obenshain and exited the elevator. 

So it was no surprise to me when Senator Obenshain attempted in two commercials and now a brochure to paint his opponent Senator Herring a member of the Virginia Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Advisory Board and sponsor of a 2013 bill (that I opposed at the September 3 VSCC meeting) to allow past sexual convictions to be entered into evidence of a new conviction as someone who doesn’t care about the safety of women or children in the Commonwealth. 

Mr. Obenshain is a Grandstander, in every sense of the word. 

Mr. Obenshain believes the end justifies the means and if to win an election he must spin facts, use hype and fear to get votes then that’s what he will do. 

Facts it seems are insignificant in the Obenshain campaign for Attorney General. 

At the recent September Virginia Crime Commission meeting in one of my public statements I mentioned that some politician’s patron, co-sponsor and vote for bills specifically to advance their political careers and “sex offender bills” which happen to be the number one fiscal impact request during session are a prime example of such a pathetic ploy. The A.G. Representative on the Crime Commission replied after my statement that she didn't appreciate me saying that lawmakers use bills for "cheap votes". But that is in fact exactly what Senator Obenshain is doing with his Human Trafficking campaign commercial, in his Senator Herring is attacking me campaign commercial where he references “Sexual Predators” and now his campaign brochure. He is pandering to citizen’s emotions with myth and fear and wrongly smearing Senator Herring at the same time. 

Using Virginia’s 20,000+ Registered Sex Offenders for political gain is the action of a career politician, not a public servant. Stepping on the backs of others, holding them up as a target of shame is not the action of a leader, but of a weak, spiteful and insecure person. 

Senator Obenshain is over-playing the “predator fear” hand and I hope Virginia’s voters see right through him and don’t believe the smoke screen his campaign has created. 

Mary Devoy

October 21, 2013

  • Obenshain Commercial Claims: "Mark Herring voted to allow sex offenders, including rapists, to serve shorter sentences."
  • Politifact Rules: Mostly False 
To read the full Politifact summary/article:
Obenshain says Herring voted to shorten prison sentences for sex offenders