In Virginia’s attorney general race, a tie goes to the Republican

In baseball, a tie goes to the runner. In the Virginia’s next attorney general race, it seems, a tie goes to the Republican.

Just 117 votes currently separate Democrat Mark Herring and Republican Mark Obenshain – out of more than 2.2 million votes cast. And a tie, once a seemingly impossible outcome, now seems like a remote -- but not unthinkable -- possibility.

“In the seemingly unlikely event of a tie,” Nikki Sheridan from the Virginia State Board of Elections tells us, “...the winner would be determined by a majority vote of the total membership of the Virginia General Assembly.”

The General Assembly is made up of the Virginia state Senate, which is currently divided between 20 Republicans and 20 Democrats, and the Virginia House of Delegates, where Republicans hold a 2-to-1 margin over Democrats.

In other words, the entire General Assembly is comprised of 87 Republicans and 53 Democrats — a composition that would almost certainly secure an Obenshain victory.

Tie votes for local offices in the commonwealth, including county, city, town and district offices, are "determined by lot" -- i.e. a coin flip -- according to a Virginia statute and confirmed by Sheridan.

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Aaron Blake · November 12, 2013

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