Republican campaign officials in Virginia's disputed Senate race announced yesterday that John W. Warner's lead over Democrat Andrew P. Miller has grown so much that "it's clear he will be Virginia's next United States senator."
The statement, which stopped just short of claiming victory, was issued after Warner campaign aides finished a survey of official returns in the state's 141 localities. The campaign said Warner's victory margin had grown slightly to 5,068 votes-still only about one-third of 1 percent of the 1.2 million votes cast.
Campaign manager JudyPeachee said she was "confident" those same results would be officially certified by the State Board of Elections Nov. 27. Warner press secretary Bill Kling said Warner's a campaign apparatus is being disbanded on that basis, but "it's not out place to make any further claims".
Meanwhile, Virginia Democratic Party vice chairman Tim Finchem said it would be "premature" for the Miller campaign to concede.
He said the campaign needed more time to decide whether to ask for a recount. No further statement from the Miller camp should be anticipated he said, until after the state board's official announcement of results Nov. 27.
Separately an Associated Press survey of all but five Virginia localities yesterday "appeared to make it all but certain" that Warner had defeated Miller, the wire service said. The AP said the total vote in the unchecked localities was so small that Miller's chance of overtaking Warner's lead were "exceedingly dim."