Herring wins attorney general race
Obenshain concedes election Wednesday; Richmond court announces 907 vote margin
Three days into the recount of the Virginia attorney general race, state senator Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, officially conceded to state senator Mark Herring, D-Loudon.
Obenshain’s announcement Wednesday brought to a conclusion one of the closest statewide elections in Virginia history, with an initial margin of less than 200 votes out of more than 2.2 million votes cast on Nov. 5.
The slim margin entitled Obenshain to a government-funded recount, which began Dec. 16. The Virginia Board of Elections confirmed Wednesday Herring’s 907 vote margin over Obenshain, shortly after the Republican senator’s concession. The final vote count was 1,105,045 for Herring and 1,104,138 for Obenshain.
“This was an extraordinarily close election,” Herring said in a press release. “I want to reassure everyone that, as I said on the campaign trail, I will wake up every day to fight for justice, equality, and opportunity for all Virginians.”
Herring said he has been in contact with current Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, and looks forward to a cooperative transition.
Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell, R-Stafford, said although he had hoped for different results, he congratulated Herring on the victory and Obenshain on a hard-fought race.
“It has taken longer than we expected to learn the final result, but I am incredibly proud of this process,” Howell said in a press statement. “The resiliency of our democratic system has been proven once again.”
Following the announcement, Gov. Bob McDonnell said the special election to fill Herring’s vacated senate seat will be held Jan. 21, 2014.
“We are seeking to move as expeditiously as possible to ensure the voters of the 33rd District have the representation they deserve, while also allowing the candidates a fair amount of time, during a busy holiday season, to communicate with those voters so they have the information necessary to make their decision next month,” McDonnell said in a press release.
Three candidates will face off in the special election: Republican John Whitbeck, Democrat Jennifer Wexton and Independent Joe May. The race will be an important fight for control of the 40-member legislative body, which is currently split evenly by Democrats and Republicans. With Herring’s departure, Democrats hope to win the competitive district in order to have Lieutenant Gov.-elect Ralph Northam, a Democrat, hold the deciding vote for the body.