An attorney for state Sen. Mark D. Obenshain hinted in court Monday that the Republican would consider using an obscure law to throw the outcome of the attorney general’s race into the hands of the General Assembly. The lawyer made the statement as legal teams for Obenshain and Democrat Mark R. Herring jockeyed for advantage in advance of next week’s statewide recount. Even floating the idea of contesting the race through the legislature is an act of political daring. Until now, Republican leaders, including Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R), have indicated that they thought a challenge would be inappropriate unless evidence of major voting irregularities emerged.
Obenshain, of Harrisonburg, lost the race in November in the closest statewide election in Virginia history, with Herring, a senator from Loudoun County, besting him by just 165 votes out of 2.2 million cast. Those results are the subject of a recount to be conducted next week.
But the fight to become the state’s top law enforcement officer, a position often used as steppingstone to the governor’s mansion, might not end there. As he argued for access to certain voting records Monday, Obenshain attorney William H. Hurd said the campaign would need time to review them before the Dec. 23 deadline to contest the election with the General Assembly.