Democrat claims win in close Virginia attorney general's race

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 13, 2013 11:43 AM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Democratic candidate for Virginia attorney general late on Tuesday claimed a razor-thin victory over his Republican rival, who, under the laws of the important U.S. swing state, is entitled to seek a recount.

Unofficial state election board results showed Democratic state Senator Mark Herring of Leesburg defeated Republican Mark Obenshain by 106 votes, or less than 0.01 percent, out of 2.2 million cast in the November 5 contest.

A win by Herring would give Democrats a sweep in statewide elections. Democrat Terry McAuliffe won the closely watched governor's race, and the lieutenant governorship went to state Senator Ralph Northam.

"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," Herring said in a statement.

The results came at the end of the normal post-election canvass of local election boards. The state election board meets on November 25 to certify the voting tally.

State law provides for an appeal of election results if the margin of victory is no more than 1 percent.

Obenshain, a state senator from Harrisonburg, said in a statement on Tuesday that the vote count had swung significantly during the canvass. He declined to say if he would seek a recount.

"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," he said.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Alden Bentley)