RICHMOND, Va. — A special election will be held Jan. 21 to fill the seat of state Sen. Mark Herring, who was elected attorney general.

Gov. Bob McDonnell announced the election date Friday. The General Assembly convenes Jan. 8.

Herring had initially led Republican state Sen. Mark Obenshain by a mere 165 votes among more than 2.2 million ballots cast on Nov. 5 for attorney general.

On the third day of the recount, trailing Herring by 866 votes, Obenshain conceded. It was the closest statewide race in modern Virginia political history.

Three candidates are vying for Herring’s seat — Republican John Whitbeck, Democrat Jennifer Wexton and state Del. Joe T. May, who is running as an independent candidate.

The 33rd Senate District includes parts of Fairfax and Loudoun counties.

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