By Ben Pershing, washingtonpost.com
RICHMOND — The recount of Virginia’s exceedingly tight race for attorney general will happen the week of Dec. 16, a Richmond judge ruled Wednesday, as lawyers for the two candidates sparred over the procedures that will govern the ballot tally and the crucial days leading up to it.
State Sen. Mark Herring (D-Loudoun) edged state Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) by 165 votes out of more than 2.2 million cast, the State Board of Elections certified last week, the closest statewide margin in Virginia history and one that entitled Obenshain to ask for a recount paid for by localities.
A handful of Republicans have already raised questions about the way ballots were counted around the state, particularly in Fairfax, and will be watching the recount even more closely for irregularities.
Virginia law allows the loser of a race to contest the result in the General Assembly, with the winner decided by a joint session of the state House and Senate that would feature a hefty Republican majority. Obenshain’s team has not said whether it would pursue that option if he remains behind when the recount concludes.