Mark Obenshain would win Virginia attorney general seat if vote ends in tie

Mark Obenshain would likely win the attorney general seat if the vote ends in a tie. Photo: Associated Press

(WJLA) - Democrat Mark Herring better hope he wins the Virginia Attorney General’s race by at least one vote. That’s because a tie would put Republican Mark Obenshain into office.

Is a tie unlikely? Sure. But given the extreme closeness of the race, all outcomes must considered, and Virginia is ready.

Under state law (Section 24.2-210 of the Code of Virginia and Article V, Sections 2 and 15 of the Constitution of Virginia, according to the Board of Elections), a tie would be broken by a vote of the General Assembly.

The Virginia Senate is tied 20-20 and the GOP has a better than 2-1 advantage in the House of Delegates –giving Republican lawmakers all the power they need to make Obenshain the state’s lawyer for the next four years.

Obenshain and Herring both currently serve in the Senate.

The latest media reports give Herring a 117-vote lead over his GOP rival. By law, localities must finish their canvasses by today. That means the painstaking review of each ballot, including thousands of provisional ballots, must conclude by 11:59pm this evening.

The state Board of Elections will then certify the election by November 25. At that point the losing campaign can decide whether to file a recount petition, as seems likely.