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Obenshain to call for recount in Virginia attorney general’s race

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Republican Mark D. Obenshain plans to formally ask for a recount of this month's Virginia attorney general's race that was decided by 165 votes.

Mr. Obenshain is set to make the announcement Wednesday in a teleconference hosted by members of his legal team, according to a statement Tuesday from his campaign.

The call comes after the Virginia State Board of Elections on Monday declared Democrat Mark R. Herring the winner in a contest in which more than 2.2 million ballots were cast.

Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Pat Mullins called the recount "the prudent thing to do."

"I think Mark Obenshain and his campaign have made the right decision in requesting a recount in this historically close race," he said. "With only 165 votes between the two candidates out of more than 2.2 million cast, Virginians need to know that the results are as accurate as humanly possible."

Mr. Herring acknowledged in a statement that it was within his opponent's right to call for a recount.

"His tactics, however, will not impede our efforts to build the finest team to serve all Virginians in the Office of Attorney General or prepare for the 2014 legislative session."

The Democrat on Tuesday named members of his inaugural committee. Both candidates have put transition teams in place.

The Obenshain campaign has pointed out that in the past 13 years, four statewide elections nationwide have had margins of fewer than 300 votes, and in all four of those elections "the results were reversed in a recount."

Virginia House Speaker William J. Howell, Stafford Republican, called the decision to pursue a recount the "right one."

"Like many others, I have heard concerns from voters across the Commonwealth that in a race separated by seven one-thousandths of a percent, we must take extra care to ensure an accurate result," he said in a statement. "I cannot imagine a more appropriate use of Virginia's recount laws."

When a recount is called, the State Board of Elections first sets the standards for the handling, security and accuracy of the tally.

A three-member "recount court" is formed in Richmond and is headed by the chief judge of the Richmond Circuit Court. Two additional circuit court judges are appointed to the board by the chief justice of the Virginia Supreme Court.

The recount court sets the standards for determining the accuracy of the votes and certifies the election results.

Its ruling is final and cannot be appealed, according to Virginia law.

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