Republican Mark D. Obenshain’s campaign for attorney general raised new questions Wednesday about how Fairfax County ballots were handled while also dismissing the idea that he has already decided to ask the General Assembly to step into the race. Earlier this week, Obenshain’s attorney raised the possibility that after next week’s recount, the closest statewide election in Virginia history might wind up before the legislature, which has the power to decide elections or call a new one under a little-known law. Va. Republicans raise new questions about Fairfax ballots Contesting the election through the General Assembly would be an extraordinary step, one that political observers said has never been taken in a statewide race, at least not in modern Virginia history.
It is something that Obenshain, of Harrisonburg, is unlikely to try unless his campaign can make a case for massive irregularities in the election process. The option would be even less appealing for Democrat Mark R. Herring given the GOP’s dominance in the legislature. In the race between the two state senators, Herring, of Loudoun County, was declared the winner by 165 votes out of more than 2.2 million cast.
“It depends entirely on the narrative you put out,” said Bob Roberts, a James Madison University political scientist. “Clearly the Obenshain campaign is trying to create this narrative that somehow the election is entirely flawed. If you can sell that to the voters, that somehow all these registrars have messed up, then you’ve got a case you can take to the legislature.”