Attorney General election remains too close to call

Hotly contested race likely to result in recount, Skelley says


After an uncharacteristically tight race between Virginia State Senators Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, and Mark Herring, D-Loudoun, unofficial results posted by the Virginia State Board of Elections show that Herring currently leads the polls by a mere 164 votes more than a week after the Nov. 5 election.

“Changes in the actual number of votes received for each candidate during this process are normal,” an automatic phone recording from the Virginia State Board of Elections said. “The State Board of Elections will be meeting on Nov. 25 to certify the results of the statewide election. Once the results are certified by the State Board, the losing candidate can petition the court for a recount. The court will then set the date and time for when the recount will be held.”

Nikki Sheridan, confidential policy advisor for the Virginia State Board of Elections, said that though localities have finished entering information into the elections board’s database, the board is currently reviewing the data for potential errors and so the results have not been certified.

Though a recount is never automatic in Virginia, a losing candidate may call for one if the margin of a loss was one percent or less, she said.

If a recount is requested, it is likely to begin in December.

“Recounts take as long as the process requires to be accurate and decisive,” Sheridan said.

In a press conference held in Richmond on Wednesday, Obenshain expressed his thoughts on the close race.

“It is important that we allow the State Board to do its work in ensuring that every legitimate vote is counted,” he said. “While many have inquired, it is premature to talk about a potential recount until that review by the State Board of Elections has been completed. We owe it to the people of Virginia to make sure we get it right, and that every legitimate vote is fairly counted and subject to uniform rules.”

Center for Politics spokesperson Geoffrey Skelley, said the polls leading up to the election indicated it would be a hotly contested race.

“Pre-election polling averages had it basically at a tie,” Skelley said. “Amusingly, that’s awfully close to the current reality.”

At this point, Skelley said a recount is very likely.

“The State will even pay for [a recount] if it’s less than a 0.05 percent difference,” he said. “This election is way, way between the confines of a recount — it comes down to hundredths of a percentage point.”

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