The closest statewide race in Virginia history may not be over just yet.
Mark Obenshain, the Republican nominee for attorney general, has asked for a recount, having been declared the loser to fellow state Sen. Mark Herring (D) on Monday by just 165 votes — a margin of about .007%. More than 2.2 million votes were cast.
An Obenshain victory is the GOP’s last hope, having already lost the races for governor and lieutenant governor. A clean sweep by the Democrats, added to the fact they already control both U.S. Senate seats, would put Virginia Republicans at their lowest level in decades.
It was a previous contest for attorney general that had been Virginia’s closest. In 2005, Republican Bob McDonnell was declared the winner over Democrat R. Creigh Deeds by 360 votes. Four years later, the two would again run against each other, this time for governor. McDonnell won in a landslide.
Memory lane. Obenshain’s father, Richard Obenshain, was one of the founders of the conservative movement in Virginia. In 1964, running as a strong supporter of Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater, Obenshain narrowly lost a bid for Congress against Democrat David Satterfield. In 1978, he won the GOP nomination for the Senate seat of retiring Republican Bill Scott. In August of that year, he perished in a plane crash following a campaign stop; he was replaced on the ballot by former Navy Secretary John Warner, who was elected that year and served until 2008.