Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) early Wednesday morning declared victory on behalf of Reeves in the 17th district, which encompasses Fredericksburg and parts of five downstate counties.
Craig Bieber, Houck’s campaign manager, said the race “remains too close to call” and noted “several significant discrepancies during Tuesday night’s tabulation that deserve further attention during the canvassing and certification process.”
Republicans need a net gain of three seats to seize outright control of the Senate; a two-seat gain would leave the GOP with a working majority on the Senate floor, with Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling able to break tie votes, but unable to dominate committees.
A clear GOP pickup appeared in a newly drawn Southside Senate district pitting two incumbents, where Sen. Bill Stanley (R) held a 643-vote lead on Sen. W. Roscoe Reynolds (D) with all precincts reporting. The second pickup hinges on the outcome of the Houck-Reeves race.
Houck’s narrow deficit came as other incumbent Democratic senators appeared to seize victory in closely contested races.
In high-profile suburban contests, Sen. Charles J. Colgan Sr. (D-Manassas) was comfortably ahead of challenger Tom T. Gordy (R) with all but one precinct counted. Sen. Linda “Toddy” Puller (D-Fairfax) held a significant lead over former delegate and state GOP chairman Jeffrey M. Frederick with 90 percent of the vote in. Republicans had high hopes of ousting Sen. George L. Barker (D-Fairfax), but attorney M. Miller Baker was running behind with more than three-quarters of the vote counted.
Former Del. Dick Black (R) also handily outpolled J. Shawn Mitchell (D) in a formerly Republican Senate district spanning Loudoun and Prince William counties.
In a closely watched House race downstate, Del. Ward L. Armstrong (D-Henry), the House minority leader, ran more than five points behind Republican Del. Charles D. Poindexter with all precincts reporting. Armstrong’s district was redrawn by House Republicans this year in a move widely interpreted as an attempt to oust Armstrong.
McDonnell said Tuesday night the GOP had added at least six seats, perhaps as many as nine, to its already dominant 20-seat House majority.
In Northern Virginia local races, one Fairfax County Board of Supervisors race expected to be closely decided lived up to billing. With about 90 percent of precincts in, Republican incumbent John C. Cook outpolled Democrat Janet S. Oleszek by less than a percentage point in their battle for the Braddock District seat. No other board race was nearly so tight, with Chairman Sharon S. Bulova cruising to a second term over three opponents in early returns.