Three weeks after Election Day, Virginia Republicans hold on to the narrowest of margins for control of the state House of Delegates. But no one can predict for sure whether they can hang on to it. That’s because a surprisingly strong turnout by Democratic voters in elections earlier this month has produced tight races in three House districts. The tightest race, in the 28th House district, is snarled in controversy over the legitimacy of 147 votes. The Republicans won a victory Monday when the State Board of Elections certified that two GOP candidates won elections in two adjoining districts — one of them the 28th — in the Fredericksburg area, about 50 miles south of Washington D.C. However, state election officials say that 147 people in those contests voted in the wrong district. No one knows how that happened and the person who might best have a clue to the mystery, the registrar, passed away in April of this year.
In the 28th, Republican Bob Thomas has an 82-vote edge over his Democratic opponent, Joshua Cole.
In a statement, Marc Cole, an attorney for the Virginia House Democratic Caucus, criticized the Board’s decision to certify the election results.
“The State Board acknowledged today what we have long known: the election results in House District 28 are marred by irregularities. Significantly, the Board formally adopted the Department of Elections’ report concluding that at least 147 voters cast ballots in the wrong race, nearly twice the current 82-vote margin between Democratic nominee Joshua Cole and Republican nominee Bob Thomas,” said Elias, adding that the Democrats will “assess our options.”