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Obenshain to Seek Recount in Virginia AG’s Race

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Virginia attorney general candidate Republican Mark Obenshain. (Photo by Win McNamee)

Virginia attorney general candidate Republican Mark Obenshain. (Photo by Win McNamee)

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RICHMOND, Va. — Republican Mark Obenshain said Tuesday he is seeking a recount in his 165-vote loss to Democrat Mark Herring in the race for state attorney general.

Obenshain said he would formally make the request Wednesday and have his legal team explain the reason.

Obenshain had made it clear in recent weeks he would seek a recount of the Nov. 5 election. Herring has declared himself Virginia’s next attorney general.

The State Board of Elections on Monday certified the vote and Herring’s slim edge out of more than 2.2 million ballots cast statewide. While Virginia has no automatic recount, a candidate can request one at taxpayer expense if the margin is less than one-half of 1 percent, as it is in this case.

Obenshain has not signaled any intention of relenting. He and Herring have named transition teams, and Herring on Tuesday also named his inaugural committee.

Herring issued a statement on Obenshain’s decision, calling it his right to “pursue electoral victory to an ultimate conclusion beyond the original count, canvass and certification.”

He added, “His tactics, however, will not impede our efforts to build the finest team to serve all Virginians in the Office of Attorney General or prepare for the 2014 legislative session.”

Republican leaders cheered Obenshain’s decision to seek a another count in the closest race in modern Virginia political history.

“Recounting a race this close is simply the prudent thing to do,” the state’s Republican Party chairman, Pat Mullins, said in a statement.

House Speaker William J. Howell, a Republican from Stafford County, called Obenshain’s decision “the right one.”

“Like many others, I have heard concerns from voters across the commonwealth that in a race separated by seven-one-thousandths of a percent, we must take extra care to ensure an accurate result,” he said in a statement.

Herring and Obenshain are state senators. Each is seeking to succeed Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who ran unsuccessfully for governor.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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