November 26, 2013 at 9:07 am EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Mark Herring certified winner of Virginia attorney general race

Mark Herring, gay news, Washington Blade

Mark Herring (Photo courtesy of Herring for Attorney General)

The State Board of Elections on Monday officially certified state Sen. Mark Herring (D-Loudoun County) as the winner of the Virginia attorney general race.

Herring maintained the 165-vote lead he had over state Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) going into the certification process after the Nov. 5 election. The race is the closest statewide contest in Virginia history.

“I am gratified that the State Board of Elections today certified me the winner of a close but fair election,” Herring said in a statement. “I look forward to serving the people of Virginia as attorney general.”

Herring’s victory comes nearly three weeks after former Democratic National Committee Chair Terry McAuliffe defeated Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in the commonwealth’s gubernatorial race. State Sen. Ralph Northam (D-Norfolk) easily defeated E.W. Jackson to become Virginia’s next lieutenant governor.

McAuliffe, Northam and Herring have all publicly backed marriage rights for same-sex couples. They also support banning discrimination against LGBT state employees.

Obenshain has 10 days under Virginia law to decide whether to request a recount.

The Washington Post on Monday reported the Harrisonburg Republican did not immediately call for a recount. His campaign did note that recounts reversed the outcomes of three of the four statewide elections in the country with margins of less than 300 votes since 2000.

“Margins this small are why Virginia law provides a process for a recount,” Obenshain’s campaign manager, Chris Leavitt, told the Washington Post. “However, a decision to request a recount, even in this historically close election, is not one to be made lightly.”

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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