Open Thread: Virginia Attorney General Election Cliffhanger Coming to Its Climax?

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    I’m going to use this thread to update on the latest in the Virginia Attorney General’s race cliffhanger. Right now, on the State Board of Elections website, Mark Obenshain leads Mark Herring by 1,262 votes, but that’s going to change big time shortly. Check out the following tweets.

    *Brian W. Schoeneman ‏@BrianSchoeneman 18m “We will have an official statement out here shortly.  Changes for AGs race in 8th District CAP:  Herring 5137, Obenshain 2039, 10 WI” (Note: Schoeneman is a Republican member of the Fairfax County Board of Elections)

    *Ben Tribbett ‏@notlarrysabato 28m @Redistrict “Fairfax counts at 2 pm”

    *Ben Tribbett ‏@notlarrysabato 1h “Without a big change- the #7cornerssurprise seems to be decisive and when all ballots are counted today @SenMarkHerring should narrowly lead”

    *Dave Wasserman ‏@Redistrict 1h “In fact, all 10 of Obenshain’s top margin counties have finished counting provisionals. Bad news for R’s.”

    *Dave Wasserman ‏@Redistrict 1h “4 of the 5 localities that gave Herring (D) his biggest margin have yet to report their provisionals. All 5 of Obenshain (R)’s already have.”

    In more good news, Arlington, Virginia, Voter Registration and Electoral Board writes, “Virginia State Board of Elections has not refreshed their website yet to show Arlington’s provisional totals, entered about 6 pm Friday. Here’s what everyone wants to know: Herring 59, Obenshain 21.”

    Looking very good right now for Mark Herring and a Democratic statewide sweep in this year’s Virginia elections (pending challenges, recount, unexpected developments, etc., of course)! 🙂  Also, great work by the following: 1) Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report; 2) the Gerry Connolly political team; 3) Ben “Not Larry Sabato” Tribbett; and 4) the Mark Herring for AG campaign. In contrast, the corporate media has been almost (or completely) AWOL on this one. Another nail in its coffin…

    UPDATE 1:14 pm: ‏@DakHardwick of the Alexandria Dems tweets, “The #Alexandria Electoral Board beginning to count accepted provisional ballots at this time. Will know numbers soon.” And  ‏@Redistrict (Dave Wasserman) tweets, “Now that we’ve resolved #7CornersSurprise and #bedfordblast, big mystery is now the #ShockoeSlipUp in Richmond #vaag”

    UPDATE 1:42 pm: @notlarrysabato tweets, “Still at Obenshain 1,103,356. Herring 1,103,274.   Waiting for Fairfax, and a few others.”

    UPDATE 2:58 pm: See this article (“A last-minute change means Fairfax County voters who cast provisional ballots may face troubles getting them counted.”) and note that both the chair and vice chair of the Virginia State Board of Elections are both Bob McDonnell appointees (the chair being a long-time Republican political operative). Hmmmmmmm. Although the vice chair, Kimberly Bowers, was deputy finance director for the O’Malley-Brown campaign and “a fundraiser for Harris Miller in his unsuccessful campaign for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.”

    UPDATE 3:36 pm: @notlarrysabato tweeted, “Updated count with Norfolk included Obenshain 1,103,366, Herring 1,103,309.” My understanding is that this does not include Fairfax provisionals, Alexandria provisionals, god knows what else (e.g., Norfolk, Richmond provisionals?)…

    UPDATE 3:51 pm: @DakHardwick tweets, “Provisional ballot count in #Alexandria complete: Herring 53, Obenshain 29. Net gain of 24 for @SenMarkHerring.” Wait, it’s changed again – “Susan Bulkley Kellom Correction — Obenshain only got 24 — net gain is 29.”

    UPDATE 5:25 pm: @notlarrysabato tweets, “15-4 herring with richmond provisionals.  Newest statewide count 1,103,399 for Obenshain, 1,103,377 for Herring.  22 votes.”

    UPDATE 5:39 pm: ‏@notlarrysabato tweets, “New update. Obenshain 1,103,417. Herring 1,103,402. 15 votes margin.”

    • Ron

      I find it amazing that that many votes could have gone uncounted. I believe all of the HoD races in the 8th have already been called for Democrats, but with so many razor thin margins against us in the HoD races I wonder if any of those races will change.  

    • 1. Her first tweet is incorrect (other than the wrong Twitter handle for Mark Herring), in that it is NOT a 3,000+ gain for Herring. Ben Tribbett corrected her on that.

      2. She acknowledged that she’s wrong, but then made two more mistakes – first that all those absentees were “previously uncounted,” and second writing Herring 5137-Herring 2039.

      My god, why are these people reporters when they can’t get the simplest thing right? Meanwhile, Dave Wasserman, Ben Tribbett, etc. run rings around them.

    • From the Fairfax County, Virginia website:

      Nov. 9, 2013

      The Fairfax County Electoral Board released the following statement regarding their investigation of the apparent error in absentee ballot returns in the 8th Congressional District and their continuing canvass of the election results in Fairfax County.

      “After a thorough investigation of the situation surrounding the incorrect tabulation of results in the 8th District Central Absentee Precinct, the Electoral Board voted unanimously this morning to accept the corrected results as determined by the canvassers.

      The final results of our investigation determined that there were errors in the tabulation that reduced the final vote tally by approximately 3,200 votes. Those errors were corrected in the canvass. The corrected numbers will be provided to the State Board of Elections for reflection on their statewide results website later today.

      We want to thank the staff for their hard work in double and triple checking the results to ensure that the errors that became apparent were thoroughly investigated and reconciled.

      These results will not be final, however, until the final certification of our results, which we expect will occur on Tuesday, Nov. 12.  The deadline for our certification is midnight on Tuesday.

      We expect to complete the canvass of all results in Fairfax by Sunday, Nov. 10. “

    • JimEH

      Fairfax started counting provisional ballots at 2pm.

    • JimEH

      If I may make a suggestion for a post, considering that we had, I believe, eight House of Delegates races where Democrats lost by 52-48 or less, I think it’s fair to ask if Republican voter suppression turned those races. In addition to the tightened voter ID requirements (less than many other states, but still tightened), we had the voter purge and the ruling from the SBE on Friday that provisional voters have to appear personally if they want to advocate for their ballot; they can’t designate a representative. (Surprise! There was a Dem effort to get the party designated to represent.)

      The effect of McDonnell’s blatantly partisan appointments to the electoral boards is really underappreciated. Imagine what the Fairfax situation would be like over the past couple of days if we still has Hans Van Spakovsky as the chair of the county electoral board!

    • teacherken

      and get that overturned on emergency basis on grounds that those rules were NOT applied to districts which have already counted provisional ballots padding lead for Obenshain – or in fact in other districts that may have favored Herring –  violation at this point of equal protection to change rules after some ballots counted without that rule being imposed.   Those ballots that were approved to be counted might thus still be counted.

    • Hey, you never know. Here’s what would happen.

      “The person having the highest number of votes for each office shall be declared elected. If two or more have the highest and an equal number of votes for an office, one of them shall be chosen for the office by a majority of the total membership of the General Assembly.

      But this is much funnier. 🙂

    • Va Breeze

      the same numbers as yesterday-have you an idea when that will update?

    • ir003436

      As of 5:14 PM Saturday, SBE site has not updated, still shows Obenshain leading.

    • normanva

      I am not sure what to make of this but The Times Dispatch said this at 6:30 in an online article

      “The error became apparent after the percentage of absentee ballots returned in District 8 was significantly lower than other Fairfax County districts. The Fairfax County Electoral Board launched an investigation Friday.

      In a statement issued Saturday, the board said: “The final results of our investigation determined that there were errors in the tabulation that reduced the final vote tally by approximately 3,000 votes.”

      With those votes now counted, Herring’s initial District 8 tally of 3,062 rose to 5,137 votes, while Obenshain’s initial total increased from 1,101 to 2,059.”  

      If I am reading this correctly Herring picked up 2075 votes to Obenshain’s 958.    

    • Jim B

      Every time Herring gets close somebody moves the football. How can we be assured that the unscrupulous repugs won’t pull a fast one?

    • Right now, the vote differential between Mark Herring and Mark Obenshain is just 55 votes out of over 2.2 million cast  for the two candidates (1,103,436-1,103,381), or 0.00249% of the two-candidate vote (not including the 5,145 write-ins). So why does the AP article cite a figure of 0.23% (see below for a screen shot)?


      So what is that 0.23% (100 times the actual percentage difference of 0.00249%) the AP is talking about? It’s hard to tell, because they don’t specify (very sloppy, lazy, shoddy reporting yet again), but it looks like they mistakenly used the % of write-in votes (0.23%) reported on the SBE website (see below for a screenshot) rather than the percentage difference between Obenshain and Herring. It’s certainly not the 0.00249% differential in votes between Obenshain and Herring which is what we’ve got at the moment.


      By the way, just to show how far off AP is in their story: if the vote differential were 5,000 votes (approximately the number of write-in votes), the percentage difference would be 0.227%, which would be essentially equivalent to the 0.23% cited by the AP. So perhaps that’s what the AP did here? Who knows. Regardless, neither candidate has led by anything near 5,000 votes for a long time now (e.g., as of Thursday evening around 9:30 pm, Mark Herring was trailing by 777 votes (0.035%) according to the State Board of Elections. That’s still off by nearly a factor of ten from the 0.23% difference cited by AP. So who knows, except that yet again the corporate media demonstrates that it is far, far inferior to a couple smart guys (e.g., Dave Wasserman, Ben Tribbett) with a spreadsheet.

    • hereinva

      Hoop jumping, marathon running..anything else to serve the voters of Virginia?

      Kudos for those who took the provisional ballot issue seriously and filed their i.d’s/paperwork on time. Must have had a larger than expected response in Fairfax County since the SBE decided offer another “twist” on the topic-(refer to Progressive1’s links). Stay Tuned!