News & Politics

Virginia Attorney General Race Heads Toward a Recount

The candidates are separated by just 219 votes.

Hang in there, Virginia. The seemingly endless statewide election season looks like it will now be extended to settle the attorney general’s race, which Republican Mark Obenshain leads Democrat Mark Herring by just 219 votes, is nearly certain to be recounted.

“The race is far from over,” Herring told WAMU around midnight as it appeared the race would be deadlocked.

Virginia election law does not include automatic recounts, but one can be requested by the trailing candidate when the margin of defeat is less than 1 percent. (And for anyone who cares about the math, 219 is exponentially less than 1 percent of the nearly 2.2 million votes cast.)

Obenshain, a state senator from Richmond, and Herring, a state senator from Loudoun County, exchanged leads a few times overnight as ballots came in, but neither one opened a big enough lead in their contest to succeed outgoing attorney general (and failed Republican gubernatorial candidateKen Cuccinelli.

Both candidates’ campaigns have said that they will request a recount, setting up a replay of the 2005 attorney general’s race, which went to a recount after Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell finished within 323 votes of each other.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.