Democrat ahead in Virginia AG race; could be sweep
November 13th, 2013
11:09 AM ET
12 months ago

Democrat ahead in Virginia AG race; could be sweep

Updated 11/13/2013 at 5:58 p.m. ET

(CNN) – Democratic state Sen. Mark Herring was 164 votes ahead of Republican state Sen. Mark Obenshain on Wednesday afternoon in an unofficial tally in the race for Virginia Attorney General.

Should Herring become the certified winner, he would be the third of three Democrats to win top-of-the-ballot seats. Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe won the gubernatorial race and Democrat Ralph Northam was elected lieutenant governor.

Tuesday was the deadline for all state localities to finish their vote canvasses and the state board of elections certifies the results on November 25.

Changes in the vote count are normal during the post-election period, according to the commonwealth's board of elections. And with the margin being less than 1%, the losing candidate is allowed to petition the board for a recount after the November 25 certification date.

As of the latest count, Herring leads Obenshain 1,103,777-1,103,613, a difference of 0.01%.

The race is close enough that Obenshain announced Wednesday he would form a transition team, despite his opponent's slight lead.

"I don't know who's going to move into the Attorney General's office in January and despite what Mark Herring says, he doesn't know either," Obenshain said, although he would not commit to launching a recall petition, preferring to "wait and see."

"With historically narrow margins and with the vote total yet to be ascertained, the responsible thing to do at this point is to prepare for a transition," Obenshain said, noting that in the nearly-as-close 2005 race for Attorney General, both candidates (one being now-Gov. Bob McDonnell) formed transition teams.

The transition team is necessary to be "ready to take up the important work of the attorney general's office," Obenshain said.

Herring spokesman Kevin O'Holleran said the campaign was confident the final results would be a win. Asked if Herring would file an appeal if Obenshain pulls ahead in the final count, O'Holleran said it was "too early" to consider that.

State election law does not allow candidates to challenge absentee and provisional ballots that were ruled invalid, or the eligibility of voters. It does, however, allow candidates to challenge whether or not standard ballots were tallied correctly.

Democrats haven't swept all three statewide offices in Virginia since 1989, when L. Douglas Wilder became the nation's first African-American governor. It could happen again this year.

The state, which has become a crucial swing state in presidential elections, also has Democrats as its two U.S. senators.

- CNN's Ashley Killough, Peter Hamby, Bryan Koenig and Dan Merica contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2013 • Virginia
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    There is no "could be" about it. It is a sweep despite Cucinnelli's & the republican lead Board of Elections attempt of changing the rules in the middle of the game. They're trying to steal the election.

    November 13, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    Indeed, it is a sweep. I understand that this doesn't fit CNN's on going TeaPerville narrative, but hey: facts are facts.

    November 13, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  3. Jen

    Republicans are reaping what they have sown...

    November 13, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  4. MaryM

    Republicans, Now do you understand that your party of NO and Obstructionism is NOT well liked by the majority of the American people.

    November 13, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  5. ItSoNlYmE

    The Fairfax County GOP did their level best to fix the outcome, but bless hearts of those 167 people, Herring has won. Obenshain may be even more sex-obsessed than Cuccinelli is, which is a frightening thought.

    November 13, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  6. Woman In California

    Another GOP massive failure.

    Good job Virginia.

    November 13, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  7. Blinded by the republican lie

    Goes to show you how much they tried to supress peoples vote and purging voters if some or most were valid. The people of Virginia do not want The GOTP in their bedrooms...These social conservative want to legislate women and everybody to their ways...If they continue this nonsense, you may as well say they are enacting their own form of sharia law.

    November 13, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  8. Tom

    Keep it up lefties and remain in your cute little echo chamber. I'm sure you're aware that in Virginia that its 39% dem and 30% repub. please do continue to keep your heads in the sand an think that having a 9 point advantage and winning by 2 points is some sort of monumental victory, not to mention having a 3r party candidate. The excuses and whining by the left is reaching another level.

    November 13, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  9. Al-NY,NY

    MaryM

    Republicans, Now do you understand that your party of NO and Obstructionism is NOT well liked by the majority of the American people.
    --------

    yet they still cling to the fantasy that THEIR opinions are right for everyone

    November 13, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  10. Vince

    Thanks Ted Cruz!

    November 13, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  11. smith

    @MaryM-Really? Since when does Virginia factor into the nations political landscape. This race means nothing.

    November 13, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "Keep it up lefties and remain in your cute little echo chamber. I'm sure you're aware that in Virginia that its 39% dem and 30% repub. please do continue to keep your heads in the sand an think that having a 9 point advantage and winning by 2 points is some sort of monumental victory, not to mention having a 3r party candidate. The excuses and whining by the left is reaching another level."

    You're operating under an invalid premise. Just because the general population identifies as 39% and 30% doesn't mean that actual turnout to the polls is the same ratio. That point is particularly poignant once you add in a careful look at what voter suppression attempts like dragnet voter purges and increasingly restrictive registration rules are designed to do: alter the turnout ratio.

    November 13, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  13. Jeff in Virginia

    As the name implies, I am from VA. Also happen to live in Fairfax County, where my registration was purged.

    It does actually happen.

    November 13, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Democrats haven't swept all three statewide offices in Virginia since 1989, when L. Douglas Wilder became the nation's first African-American governor. It could happen again this year.
    -------------------------
    Signs of the times? Three years later, America elected a Democrat to the White House for the first of two terms.

    November 13, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  15. Silence DoGood

    The amazing right wing logic of
    – fixing broken government by breaking it and
    – making government less intrusive by regulating everyone beliefs and behavior
    – spreading the love of the True Religion by hating the weak, poor, and different
    is REALLY paying off
    or NOT...

    November 13, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  16. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Woman In California
    Another GOP massive failure.

    Good job Virginia.
    ------------------------------
    Epic fail failure by the GOTP. As a Virginian, I'm glad that we got the clean sweep, however, I'm not too thrilled that the turnout for this election was about a million votes less than the Presidential election. We need to come out in full force in 2014 if we need to take back the House.

    November 13, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  17. Ol' Yeller

    @Tom

    "Keep it up lefties "

    Oh, we very much intend to....
    Very soon you can start crying about President Hillary (and won't I be pleased, dittohead).

    November 13, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    Soooooo, get this...and watch how fast CNN fails to report on it:

    For decades in VA, it has been the rule that someone casting a provisional ballot can simultaneously authorize someone else to appear and argue on their behalf for the ballot's validity (e.g., a husband who has to work might authorize his wife to appear to validate the ballot). The GOP/Teatroll controlled VA Board of Elections and Ken Cuccinelli just changed that rule on Monday, AFTER THE ELECTION AND WHEN FACED WITH AN AG ELECTION THAT WILL LIKELY COME DOWN TO PROVISIONAL BALLOTS, to make it mandatory that the person casting the provisional ballot is the only person who can show up to defend the ballot's validity.

    How's that for voter suppression and cheating, eh CNN? Where's your story on THAT?!?!?!?

    November 13, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  19. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Since when does Virginia factor into the nations political landscape. This race means nothing.
    ---------------------------------------------–
    I think it's sort of a big deal when a traditional republican stronghold, has turned completely BLUE. In the words of Joe Biden, that's a BFD!!!

    November 13, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    smith

    @MaryM-Really? Since when does Virginia factor into the nations political landscape. This race means nothing.
    ----------------------
    If it means nothing, then why did Republicans enter a candidate? Would it still mean nothing had Republicans swept the three races? Of course, not. Republicans would be leading a chorus of "the people of spoken", and "the will of the people says blah". The right wing plays people for fools, and any fool can see it.

    November 13, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |