Two Races Highlight 2013 Virginia Republican Convention

On Friday, the 2013 State Convention for the Republican Party of Virginia kicked off in Richmond.

Delegates from all over the state are in the area this weekend to pick nominees to represent the party on Election Day this year.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has already locked up the nomination for the governor's race and his biggest task will be uniting the party.

Races for the Attorney General nomination and the Lieutenant Governor nomination will also be held.

The Attorney General's race features two candidates with connections to the Shenandoah Valley.

Senator Mark Obenshain (R - 26th District), who oversees Harrisonburg and parts of the northern Shenandoah Valley, will be going up against Delegate Rob Bell (R - 58th District), who oversees parts of Rockingham County.

The most contested race is expected to be for the Lieutenant Governor nomination.

Seven candidates are competing for the spot and multiple balloting rounds are expected on Saturday.

The race features Jeannemarie Davis, a former state legislator; EW Jackson, an attorney and minister; Delegate Scott Lingamfelter (R - 31st District); Senator Steve Martin (R - 11th District); Pete Snyder, a tech entrepreneur; Corey Stewart, head of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors; and Susan Stimpson, head of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors.

On top of choosing the nominees, former Augusta County Republican Committee Chairman Dr. Kurt Michael says one of the main goals of the convention will be to bring the party together.

"What's important about this convention is Ken Cuccinelli will have to pull together three factions within the Republican party. Currently, we have Ron Paul libertarians, establishment Republicans, and Tea Party activists," he explained. "It's extremely important that the Republican party moves as a unit into November's election."

Dr. Michael also said the importance of the convention cannot be understated.

After Virginia went to President Barack Obama and Senator Tim Kaine last year, Republicans must get back on track in 2013 or risk severe consequences.

"If we do not win the governor's seat, that could set the Republican party back 15-20 years," said Dr. Michael. "We are in a purple state. It's turned blue. The Democrats will be pouring all their resources into the state of Virginia to win this seat and to solidify a base where they can carry that on for the next 15-20 years."

Virginia will be one of two states holding governor's races in 2013. New Jersey, which is currently led by Republican Governor Chris Christie, is the other state and will likely "stay red".

Voting for both the Attorney General and Lieutenant Governor races begins Saturday. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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