Local electoral boards certified Republican wins in House Districts 85 and 91 on Tuesday, according to House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah.) The two seats were the most narrow victories for House Republicans, who appear set to hold a 52-48 majority in 2022 according to preliminary results. But with less than a one percent margin of victory in both seats, the campaigns may ask for recounts.
“Today’s certifications by the local electoral boards make it official: Karen Greenhalgh and A.C. Cordoza have prevailed in House Districts 85 and 91. I again congratulate the Delegates-elect on their win, and look forward to working with them as members of our 52-member Republican House majority,” Gilbert said in a press release.
After Delegate Martha Mugler (D-Hampton) conceded the race to Cordoza, House Democrats conceded the majority. But over the weekend, Mugler retracted the concession.
“On Friday night, we were made aware of an error that occurred while reporting vote counts in House District 91. In light of this news and the significant shift we have seen in the count since Tuesday night, we think it wise to do our due diligence to make sure every vote is fairly and accurately counted. We will allow the process the full time and effort it takes to ensure accuracy,” she said in a weekend statement.
According to the Virginia Department of Elections’ unofficial results, Cordoza beat Mugler by 0.33 percent, or 94 votes. Greenhalgh beat Alex Askew (D-Virginia Beach) by 0.44 percent, or 127 votes. Virginia does not have automatic recounts.
The State Board of Elections is scheduled to certify Virginia’s election results on November 15. After that, campaigns can petition a circuit court for a recount if they lost by a one percent margin. That will trigger a recount court, and a preliminary hearing where rules for the recount are set. After the recount, the court will certify the total results.
That process means that Republicans’ takeover of the majority will continue to hang in the balance; if both Mugler and Askew win after recounts, the House will be a 50-50 split.
“This is not over yet,” Askew’s Campaign Manager Zoë Kleinfeld told The Washington Post.
– – –
Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Karen Greenhalgh” by Karen Greenhalgh. Photo “A.C. Cordoza” by Friends of A.C. Cordoza. Background Photo “Virginia Capitol” by Anderskev. CC BY 3.0.