It could be weeks before it’s official, but it appears the Republicans will have control of the Virginia State Senate after all.
In addition to winning the biggest majority in the history of the commonwealth’s House of Delegates, they may have pulled even with Democrats in the Senate. With Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling as the tiebreaker, a 20-20 split gives the GOP the upper hand.
If the GOP does win a Senate majority, it will be just the second time since the Civil War that all three statewide offices, the House and the Senate are in Republican hands.
That hinges on the 17th District, covering Culpeper and Orange counties, parts of Louisa and Albemarle counties, and parts of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania. A recount is possible in the race between Democratic Sen. Edd Houck and Republican Bryce Reeves.
In Spotsylvania County, election officials spent Wednesday canvassing the vote, checking for any errors. Reeves declared victory early Wednesday after an incorrect vote total had Houck as the winner. The canvass revealed more mistakes. When corrected, they increased Reeves’s lead. Reeves had led by 86 votes Tuesday night. That increased to 224 votes Wednesday.
Gov. Bob McDonnell called the GOP’s success a repudiation of President Barack Obama. Democrats disagree.
"I don't see 20-20 as a mandate,” State Sen. Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax County) said. “They spent a boatload of cash. I don't see this as a repudiation of anybody."
Neither candidate spoke to reporters Wednesday, but at Houck’s campaign office, staffers were packing up, while Houck’s office was still buzzing.
If the Houck campaign does seek a recount, that official request can't be made for several weeks -- not until after the State Board of Elections certifies the vote totals Nov. 28.
Houck has not said whether he’ll ask for a recount.