RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Democrat Mark R. Herring has widened his lead over Republican Mark R. Obenshain in the nail-biting race for attorney general in Virginia.
A count Tuesday of provisional ballots in Virginia's largest county put Herring 163 votes ahead of Obenshain. The race is likely to head to a recount after the State Board of Elections certifies the Virginia-wide votes.
Herring's campaign claimed victory, but Obenshain issued a statement saying he would wait until the state certifies the results on Nov. 25.
In a seesaw race, Herring's unofficial lead slipped to 106 votes out of 2.2 million ballots cast on Nov. 5, according to unofficial results from the State Board of Elections.
But after Fairfax County election officials counted provisional ballots Tuesday night, Herring claimed an additional 160 votes to Obenshain's 103, giving him the unofficial statewide lead of 1,103,778 votes to Obenshain's 1,103,615 votes.
Midnight is the deadline for ballots to be certified by local election boards.
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Statement from Mark Herring
Mark Herring has won the race for Virginia Attorney General. After a thorough and complete canvass, Herring defeated his opponent Senator Mark Obenshain.
“Voters in Virginia have spoken, their voices have been heard and I am honored to have won their votes and their trust to become Virginia’s next Attorney General,” Attorney General-elect Herring said. “Over the course of the past week, a thorough and extensive process has ensured that every vote has been tallied and accounted for. The margin was close, but it is clear that Virginians have chosen me to serve as the next Attorney General.
“Today we begin the process of governing. I look forward to working with Virginians from all regions and all background, Democrats, Independents and Republicans to move our Commonwealth forward,” Attorney General-elect Herring added.
Following the vote canvass – a process overseen by bipartisan Boards of Elections in every locality, as well as volunteers and official observers from both parties to audit the voting process and ensure votes are tabulated correctly – Herring came out ahead of Obenshain.
Statement from Mark Obenshain
Mark Obenshain issued the following statement regarding the completion of the local canvass.
"At this stage, we are in the closest statewide election in Virginia history. The State Board of Elections currently estimates a difference of fewer than 200 votes out of more than 2 million votes cast. That's less than 1/100th of a percent difference. With the completion of the canvass of local boards, we have finished two of the three automatic steps of vote counting. The State Board of Elections will now conduct its own review, scheduled to be complete November 25th. We owe it to the people of Virginia to make sure we get it right, and that every legitimate vote is counted and subject to uniform rules. We have seen significant swings in the vote count over the last several days as errors are corrected as a part of the regular canvass process. The State Board of Elections will now conduct its own review and we will await their results. I thank our dedicated election officials who have put in long hours and given great care to their duty. We will make further announcements in the days ahead."
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