Mark Obenshain to ask for recount in attorney general race

Republican Mark Obenshain will formally request a recount of the state attorney general race that he lost to Democrat Mark Herring by a scant 165 votes of the more than 2.2 million votes cast in the Nov. 5 statewide election.

obenshain2The request will trigger a process defined by state law that begins with the convening of a three-judge recount court led by the chief judge of the Richmond Circuit Court. That body will spell out to local electoral boards across the Commonwealth the steps that they will need to take to recount ballots.

At play for the first time will be a law passed in the wake of the 2005 recount in that year’s attorney general race that requires that every ballot that can be recounted by hand will be, including any paper ballots and ballots cast by optical-scan machines.

Herring, who has already begun moving ahead with his transition to assuming the duties of the office in January, said Tuesday that “it is within Sen. Obenshain’s right to pursue electoral victory to an ultimate conclusion beyond the original count, canvass and certification.”

“His tactics, however, will not impede our efforts to build the finest team to serve all Virginians in the Office of Attorney General or prepare for the 2014 legislative session,” Herring said.

The 2005 recount in the race between Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell did not overturn the result. McDonnell led by 323 votes going into that recount, and his final victory margin actually increased by 37 votes as a result of the recount, which was finally resolved on Dec. 21 that year.


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