And you thought it was close last week. Republican state senator Mark Obenshain is currently leading Democratic state senator Mark Herring in the race to be Virginia’s next attorney general by just 17 votes. (So, you know, the race could technically be closer.) Last week, the Republican’s lead was 1,200-plus votes, but provisional ballots from Fairfax County whittled it down to slightly more than two dozen. As the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports, the race looks to be headed for an official recount. And per the Washington Post, there are more unreported provisional ballots in Fairfax County and the City of Richmond.
“The race is extremely close,” says Paul Logan, a spokesman for Obenshain’s campaign. “Our goal is to ensure that every legitimate vote is counted. We believe that Mark Obenshain will prevail. The canvass process is ongoing.”
This is an incredibly important contest for Old Dominion Republicans. After losses in the races for governor and lieutenant governor, it’s their last chance for a statewide win — and their best chance to have a prominent candidate poised to run for governor in 2017, when term limits will prevent Governor Terry McAuliffe from running again. Infighting has made for a comparatively balkanized state party that lacks a figure to unify its disparate factions. If Obenshain wins, he could fill that role. If he loses, things could be messy in Virginia Republican circles for quite some time.
You can check the results of the race at the Virginia State Board of Elections website.