Virginia Del. Thomas Rust (R-Fairfax) held on to his 86th District seat by a 32-vote margin after a recount of nearly 21,000 ballots cast in Fairfax and Loudoun counties, election officials said Thursday.
After the Nov. 5 election, Rust was declared the winner by the State Board of Elections. At the time, he had a 54-vote lead over his Democrat challenger, Jennifer Boysko, a 0.25 percent margin that entitled her to a state-funded recount.
Both candidates gained votes in the recount, mainly because hand-counting recorded votes that optical scan machines missed on Election Day as a result of errors in filling out the ballots, officials said.
Boysko, a former aide to Fairfax County Supervisor John W. Foust (D-Dranesville), gained 43 votes in the court-supervised recount, which was conducted at the Fairfax County Courthouse. She finished with a total of 10,378 votes, officials said. Rust finished with 10,410 votes, 21 more than he was initially credited with.
After nearly upending a popular six-term incumbent, Boysko said she plans to run for the 86th District seat again in 2015.
“We came within 32 votes of taking out the incumbent, and that’s a feat many people didn’t think we’d come close to,” said Boysko, who congratulated Rust on the hard-fought campaign.
Rust could not be reached for comment. But in a Facebook post, he said, “We have a lot of work ahead of us, and I look forward to being a part of that.”
Rust has been named chairman of the House Transportation Committee and, as such, is expected to have some say over how $6 billion in tax revenue from a landmark law enacted this year will be spent on relieving traffic congestion and other transportation problems in Virginia.
Brian Schoeneman, secretary of the Fairfax County election board, said no ballots were challenged in the 86th District recount, which was certified by a three-judge panel Thursday.
The process took about seven hours and went smoothly, he said, mainly because many of the volunteers involved also worked on recounting ballots in the race for attorney general.
Democrat Mark R. Herring emerged as the victor in that race this week. Republican Mark D. Obenshain conceded after the margin between the two candidates increased to more than 800 votes.
“Today was a textbook case of what we wanted to do,” Schoeneman said, expressing relief that controversies growing out of this year’s elections had been resolved. “Everybody was already trained and ready to go. I think we’re all pleased that this is over.”