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Virginia's Attorney General Race Now Favors Democrat, But Only By 117 Votes

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Democrat Mark Herring, left, is narrowly trailing Republican Mark Obenshain, right, in the race for Virginia attorney general.
Democrat Mark Herring, left, is narrowly trailing Republican Mark Obenshain, right, in the race for Virginia attorney general.

First there was the Seven Corners Surprise. Then there was the Bedford Blast. That was followed by the Shockoe Surprise.

Each new hour seems to bring yet another voting irregularity or more electoral shenanigans in the hotly contested race for attorney general. On election night, Republican state Senator Mark Obenshain was in the lead. By the time the sun came up, Democrat Mark Herring had an edge.

Since that time, the lead has changed pace a dizzying number of times. At one point, the margin of victory was only 17 votes out of two million cast. Today the Virginia Board of Elections reports that the lead belongs to Herring, but only by 117 votes. According to some analysts, that lead should hold.

"The person leading before you go into an official recount almost always ends up being the winner, and the recount in this day and age is less likely to see any substantial changes," says Geoff Skelley, an analyst with the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

He says the canvas of votes taking place right now will end up being much more important than whatever happens during the recount. "There's less human error out there for some kind of substantial shift in the number of votes that take place."

Later today, election officials shoud have a better idea of which candidate has an edge leading into the inevitable recount.

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