Politics

Virginia AG Recount to Begin Dec. 16

December 5, 2013

The recount of Virginia’s exceedingly tight race for attorney general will begin Dec. 16, a Richmond judge ruled Wednesday, as attorneys for the two candidates sparred over the procedures that will govern the ballot tally.

State Sen. Mark R. Herring, a Democrat from Loudoun County, edged state Sen. Mark D. Obenshain, a Harrisonburg Republican, by 165 votes out of more than 2.2 million cast, the State Board of Elections certified last week. It was the closest statewide margin in Virginia history and one that entitled Obenshain to request a recount paid for by localities.

A handful of Republicans have already raised questions about how ballots were counted across the state, particularly in enormous Fairfax County, and they said they will watch the recount even more closely for irregularities.

Virginia law allows an unsuccessful candidate to contest the result in the General Assembly, with the winner decided by a joint session of the state House and Senate — which would feature a hefty Republican majority. Obenshain’s team has not said whether it will pursue that option if he remains behind after the recount.

The recount will be overseen by a special court, and the lead judge — Beverly W. Snukals of the Richmond Circuit Court — heard from both sides Wednesday before issuing several rulings.

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