The Washington Post

Houck concedes defeat, ensuring GOP control of Virginia Senate

State Sen. R. Edward Houck conceded defeat Thursday, ending any Democratic hopes of hanging onto power in Richmond.

The Spotsylvania Democrat announced his decision at a news conference in Fredericksburg and on Facebook afterward.

His opponent, Republican Bryce Reeves, picked up four more votes in Thursday in a Virginia Senate race that delivered the last bastion of Democratic power in Richmond to the GOP.

With the addition of those votes, Reeves defeated Houck by about 225 votes, Houck said. “The chances of the recount changing 225 votes were very, very remote,” he told reporters on a conference call.

A recount seemed likely election night, when Reeves led by just 86 votes. His lead widened to Wednesday after a “keying error” was discovered in Culpeper. By Thursday, Houck’s only hope was Louisa County, the only jurisdiction that had not completed its regular post-election review.

The county had to count eight provisional ballots and one paper ballot cast in the parking lot of the polling place by someone prevented by physical disability from coming inside. The county also had to review records for an entire precinct where 1,398 ballots had been cast.

Elections officials in Louisa County said they counted three of eight provisional ballots, and they all went for Reeves. The rest were never opened because they were cast by unregistered voters.

The fourth vote was cast on a paper ballot by a physically handicapped person who was not able to come inside the polling place, said Jack Manzari, chairman of Louisa’s electoral board. That ballot had not been placed in the proper envelope, but elections officials discovered it Thursday afternoon during their normal, post-election review.

Laura Vozzella covers Virginia politics for The Washington Post.



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