Never let it again be said in Virginia that your vote doesn’t matter.
Two months after Democrat Mark Herring was elected attorney general by 165 votes out of 2.2 million cast, a Virginia Democrat leads by 22 votes for a seat in the state Senate, where the two parties each control 20 seats.
Democratic state Delegate Lynwood Lewis led Republican businessman Wayne Coleman by 10,197 to 10,175, according to an unofficial count by the state board of elections after a special election yesterday. A recount is likely.
Lewis would succeed Democrat Ralph Northam, the incoming lieutenant governor — the officeholder presiding over the state Senate who will be able to break ties in the Democrats’ favor.
So long as the Democrats keep 20 seats, that is.
There’s a special election Jan. 21 for the Senate seat that Herring is vacating to become attorney general.
“Herring will resign from his Senate seat Saturday, the day he is sworn in as attorney general. That means Republicans will have a 20 to 19 advantage until Herring’s successor joins the chamber, presumably Jan. 22,” the Washington Post’s Ben Pershing reported.
The good news for Democrats is that recounts almost never overturn the original results. Lewis probably will hang on.
The bad news for Democrats: The razor-thin contest played out among a Democratic-friendly constituency that gave President Barack Obama 57 percent of the vote in the 2012 election. Since Obama’s re-election, many Democratic candidates in ‘off-year’ elections have run behind the president’s performance. Lewis’s 50 percent showing is about seven points behind Obama, for example.
This underscores the difficulties Democrats face in this year’s lower-turnout midterm election, when Democrats face an uphill battle to make a net gain of 17 seats in the House and are also facing a determined Republican effort to win control of the Senate.