RICHMOND — A Richmond-area Republican who conceded after losing his House of Delegates seat last month has now filed for a recount, adding to uncertainty around the balance of power in the Virginia legislature.
After the wave of Democratic victories around Virginia on Nov. 7, Republicans are hanging onto control of the House of Delegates by a margin of 51-49. They had enjoyed a seemingly insurmountable 66-34 advantage going into the election.
Democrats have asked for recounts in two close races, and at least one more request could be on the way, leaving open the possibility of a shift in power.
Del. G. Manoli Loupassi became the first Republican to ask for a recount Thursday night, filing suit in his loss to Democrat Dawn Adams in the 68th House of Delegates District, covering part of Richmond and suburban Chesterfield County.
Adams, a nurse practitioner who would be the first open lesbian to serve in the Virginia legislature, won by a margin of 336 votes out of more than 39,000 votes cast.
Just before 9 p.m. on Thursday, Adams received notice from a courier that Loupassi was seeking a recount.
“I believe the people have spoken, and I am excited and ready to get to work for the constituents of the 68th District,” Adams said in a statement. “We were vigilant in our efforts to assure the accuracy of reporting; no discrepancies were found in the post election canvass to alter the results and we are confident in the outcome as certified by the State Board of Elections on November 20th. In the meantime, I will continue to press on and serve as Delegate-elect.”
Loupassi, a lawyer, has represented the district since 2009 and had twice conceded his loss, according to Adams.
But in a statement, Loupassi said he had asked for the recount “just to make sure everything is in order here . . . I recognize the outcome may not change, but there’s no harm done in making sure that the vote is correct.”
Democrats have petitioned for recounts in two races so far: The 94th District in Newport News, where Democrat Shelly Simonds lost to Republican Del. David E. Yancey by 10 votes, and in the 40th District in Fairfax and Prince William counties, where Democrat Donte Tanner lost to Republican Del. Timothy D. Hugo by 106 votes.
House Democrats are still pondering a recount in the 28th District around Fredericksburg, where state officials said scores of residents received the wrong ballots. Republican Bob Thomas defeated Democrat Joshua Cole by 82 votes for the seat, which was open because of the retirement of former House Speaker William J. Howell.
The state Board of Elections certified that outcome only last week, giving Democrats more time to consider asking for a recount. They had also filed a legal challenge regarding the 28th District race, a case that is still pending in federal court.
Under state law, taxpayers pay for the cost of recounts where the winning margin is smaller than half a percentage point. Campaigns have to pay for related legal fees.
Fenit Nirappil contributed to this report.