UPDATE: According to the State Board of Elections’ website, there are now 117 votes separating the two candidates. Mark R. Herring, the Democrat, has now taken the lead.
(CNN) — The race for Virginia Attorney General appears headed for a recount, with 17 votes separating the candidates a week after Election Day out of more than 2.2 million ballots cast.
Republican state Sen. Mark D. Obenshain currently has a 0.0015%, lead over Democratic state Sen. Mark Herring, 1,103,443 to 1,103,426 in unofficial results, more than close enough for Herring to petition for a recount.
The Virginia Board of Elections allows any candidate who loses by less than 1% of the vote to make such a petition.
“The race is far from over,” Herring told reporters last week.
“The commonwealth has a process to make sure all the votes are counted and we are going to make sure we go through that process,” he said. “Right now it is basically 50-50 and the numbers have been moving in our direction all night.”
Obenshain appeared well aware of the precipitous nature of his lead in a tweet Monday.
“Another week, more ballots to count! Thanks Team O for your tireless efforts, especially over the past week. Keep the faith!” Obenshain wrote.
A recount, if it does happen, won’t start for several weeks.
First, the unofficial results need to be certified official, which won’t happen until November 25. Even then, Herring would not be able to challenge absentee and provisional ballots that were ruled invalid, or the eligibility of voters. State election rules do, however, allow candidates to challenge whether or not standard ballots were tallied correctly.
The race to succeed outgoing Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli followed a narrative of national issues and character attacks.
Obenshain accused Herring of being anti-gun and taxing “your freedom away.” Herring went after Obenshain as being too close to Cuccinelli and his views on social issues painted by Democrats as being “extreme.”
Cuccinelli narrowly lost his own bid to be the next governor of the Old Dominion, falling behind Democrat Terry McAuliffe by 3 percent.