The two candidates for attorney general are gearing up for a recount in the closest statewide contest in modern Virginia history, pending today’s meeting in which the State Board of Elections will certify the results. State Sen. Mark R. Herring, the Democratic candidate, maintains a 165-vote lead over his Republican opponent, state Sen. Mark D. Obenshain — that’s about 0.007 percent of more than 2.2 million votes cast statewide — following extensive canvassing in several localities. If a candidate is within one-half of a percentage point, the state will pay for a recount. If the margin is between one-half of a percentage point and 1 percentage point, a candidate can urge a recount at his own expense. Charles E. Judd, chairman of the elections board, expects a recount. “We’re probably looking at the middle of December. It will be a long day for some localities,” Judd said Friday. At 9 a.m. today, the board will review the election results provided by the local electoral boards. “The localities forwarded the data, the local boards went through that in great detail and sent it to us,” Judd said. “Our staff has been checking the data for accuracy and they are currently in the process of preparing the documents that we will review,” he said.
Today the three members of the elections board — Judd, the Republican chairman; Vice Chairman Kimberly T. Bowers, a Democrat; and Secretary Don Palmer, also a Republican — will read the numbers out loud for the public to hear.
“Once we consider them accurate, we will have a motion to certify the election,” Judd said, adding that he does not expect the meeting to last longer than 90 minutes.
Confident that he’ll maintain his lead, Herring declared victory two weeks ago. Obenshain, however, has repeatedly pointed out that the race is far from over and that the numbers could still turn in his favor during the state canvass or a recount. Both candidates have named transition teams.