Democrat Mark Herring’s margin of victory in the Virginia Attorney General’s race still stands at 165 votes after the state certified its vote total on Monday, but Republican Mark Obenshain is still weighing whether to ask for a recount in the razor-thin contest.
“Over the next few days, we will continue to review these results,” Obenshain campaign manager Chris Leavitt said in a statement. “Margins this small are why Virginia law provides a process for a recount. However, a decision to request a recount, even in this historically close election, is not one to be made lightly. Virginia law allows ten days to request a recount. 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.”
After disputes over provisional ballots and discrepancies in vote totals — which at one point had Obenshain in the lead by just 17 votes – Herring pulled into the lead two weeks ago when all the commonwealth’s localities submitted their votes.
While Democrats were quick to declare victory in what would be a historic sweep in the Old Dominion if the contest’s results stand, Obenshain urged caution as both parties began privately planning for a likely recount.
After Monday’s official certification, Herring again claimed victory but cautioned his supporters that a likely legal challenge was coming.
“The election results are in and thanks to you, Mark will be our next Attorney General. Mark won by a close margin – but until the GOP accepts the election results, we need to protect every vote,” his campaign wrote in a fundraising solicitiation.
A recount situation is nothing new in the commonwealth. In 2005, the attorney general’s race also saw a similar path. Then, Republican Bob McDonnell prevailed over Democrat Creigh Deeds by just 360 votes. A recount followed that year that – it wasn’t concluded until Dec. 21 – and the race saw a 37-vote shift toward McDonnell.