- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr., Virginia Republican, said Monday he will request a recount of his 5th District congressional race after official election results showed that challenger Tom Perriello unseated him by 745 votes.

“In an election this close … a recount is an important protection for voters,” Mr. Goode said Monday afternoon. “It ensures that each ballot that was lawfully cast in the election is counted, and that the votes are accurately tallied.”

The Virginia State Board of Elections certified the election results Monday. Mr. Perriello’s apparent victory completes Democrats’ aggressive gains in the Nov. 4 elections and gives the party a 6-5 majority among Virginia’s House delegation.

Republicans held an 8-3 advantage entering the races, but lost seats in the 2nd, 5th and 11th districts.

“The citizens of the 5th District have spoken, every vote has been counted and certified, and they have elected Tom Perriello to be their new representative in Washington to bring the change and economic recovery they need,” Perriello spokeswoman Jessica Barba said.

Still, Mr. Goode’s call for a recount is valid under state law, which says a candidate whose margin of defeat is 1 percent or less of the total votes cast has 10 days following certification of the votes to make the request.

The six-term incumbent - who also has represented the district as a Democrat and independent - said the vote count has changed dramatically in the days following the election, noting that he was ahead by 446 votes on Nov. 5.

Mr. Goode, 62, said he will file the paperwork necessary for a recount on Tuesday.

A recount “also gives us a chance to ensure that each candidate’s tally is comprised only of votes that were properly and lawfully cast,” he said.

A recount is unlikely to reverse the race’s result, but the request makes sense in the event of an error that cost Mr. Goode a large amount of votes, said Bob Holsworth, a political analyst at Virginia Commonwealth University.

“Mathematically, [Mr. Goode’s] behind at a level that’s rarely overturned,” Mr. Holsworth said. “But he has the right for the recount, and I think he’s exercising that right.”

There were more than 316,000 votes cast in the 5th District race. By comparison, nearly 2 million votes were cast in the 2005 attorney general’s race between Republican Bob McDonnell and Democrat R. Creigh Deeds, which was the closest statewide election in modern Virginia history.

A recount in that contest widened the margin of victory for Mr. McDonnell by a mere 37 votes, putting him 360 votes ahead of Mr. Deeds.

Ms. Barba said Mr. Perriello, 34, who already has begun his transition efforts, will continue seeking advice, hiring staff and taking other measures to prepare for his likely time in office.

“Congressman-elect Perriello is going to be focused 100 percent on transition from here on out,” she said.

Democrats have not held a majority of the state’s House seats since 1998.

Virginia residents also elected Democrat Mark Warner to the U.S. Senate and voted for President-elect Barack Obama, marking the first time the state has sided with a Democratic presidential candidate since 1964.

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