Dem declared official winner in Virginia AG race; recount uncertain

Posted at 4:38 PM, Nov 25, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-25 16:38:22-05

(CNN) — The Republican who lost by a sliver in Virginia’s attorney general will wait a few more days before deciding whether to request a recount, his campaign said Monday.

The announcement came the same day as Virginia’s Board of Election’s ruled that Democratic state Sen. Mark Herring officially beat Republican state Sen. Mark Obenshain by 165 votes out of about 2.2 million.

When calculated, the vote margin is about .008%. If a candidate loses by less than 1%, he or she is allowed to petition the board for a recount after the votes are certified.

Now that the board has made the vote count official, Obenshain’s campaign manager Chris Leavitt said they’ll continue to review the results over the next few days before they decide whether to request a recount.

According to the state’s election law, Obenshain has 10 days starting from Monday to file for a recount.

“A decision to request a recount, even in this historically close election, is not one to be made lightly,” he said in a statement. “We will make further announcements regarding a recount well within that time, in order to ensure the closure and confidence in the results that Virginians deserve.”

Virginia election law states that the counties and cities involved must pay for a recount if the vote margin is less than .5%, meaning the recount would be free for Obenshain.

The law does not allow candidates to challenge absentee and provisional ballots that were ruled invalid, or the eligibility of voters. It does, however, allow candidates to challenge whether or not standard ballots were tallied correctly.

With Monday’s certified results, Democrats as of now have officially swept all three top-of-the-ballot, statewide offices in the commonwealth for the first time since 1989. Those offices include governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.

“I am gratified that the State Board of Elections today certified me the winner of a close but fair election,” Herring said in a statement, thanking the board and election officials for their work to “bring this historic election to a close.”

But voters must wait until Obenshain makes a recount decision. His deadline is December 5.