Virginia House Control In Limbo; Reports are sought in 2 races

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Two sitting Democrats, who follow Republican challengers closely in Virginia’s House of Delegates, announced Tuesday that they will apply for counts, leaving control of the chamber in limbo.

Republicans have won 50 seats, and Democrats have won 48. sharing open. in the chamber.

The Associated Press has not called the races. In District 91, Republican AC Cordoza leads the Democratic Party. Martha Mugler with 94 votes out of 27,388 counted. In District 85, Republican Karen Greenhalgh leads the Democratic Party. Alex Askew with 127 votes out of 28,413 counted. The margin in both races is below 0.5%, which allows losing candidates to request state-funded recalculations.

“Voting is a privilege and we must honor every person who came out and exercised one of our most fundamental rights by ensuring that every vote is properly accounted for,” Askew said in a press release.

Several days after the election, Mugler admitted the race to her Republican challenger, but later dampened that admission, saying she had been alerted to an error that occurred while reporting vote counts in her district. On Tuesday, she said she decided to seek a recount “to exercise all possible due diligence.”

“My voters in Hampton, Poquoson and York should be able to feel confident that we have taken every step to ensure that their votes are counted accurately,” Mugler said in a press release.

“I trust the process and will trust the methods that are in place to maintain fair elections in the Commonwealth, including a recount,” she said.

Both Mugler and Askew are established freshmen, first elected in 2019 when Democrats turned both the House and Senate.

Garren Shipley, a spokesman for the Republican-led Republican nominee Todd Gilbert, said GOP leaders believe the recount will confirm the party’s leadership in both races.

“Based on past experience and our experience with observers on Earth, we are confident we will have 52 seats when the new General Assembly convenes in January,” Shipley said. Gilbert was elected Sunday by Republican Republican leaders as the next speaker.

Counties in Virginia are monitored by panels of three judges. It is unclear how long the process will take, but in 2017, when partisan control of Parliament came down to a central Hampton Roads seat, the recount was not held until late December.

If Republicans hold on to those two seats in the counts, they will have a 52-48 majority over the Democrats in the House of Representatives. If the counts change the result of one or both races, the GOP will have a 51-49 majority or a 50-50 draw with the Democrats.

Election Commissioner Chris Piper told a Richmond civic group last week that reports are unlikely to change the results of the races because of the size of the margins.

“We conducted a safe, secure and incredibly smooth election,” Piper told the Electoral Commission just before it voted 5-0 to confirm the election result.

If the Republicans hold on to District 85 or District 91, they will control the House and run an election campaign in which they also recapture the offices of governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general. The state senate has a slim democratic majority of 21-19, with elections scheduled for 2023.

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