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Va. General Assembly could decide AG race

Saturday - 11/16/2013, 8:19am  ET

WASHINGTON - The attorney general's race in Virginia is not officially over and most likely it'll be headed for a recount. But regardless of the recount results, the race could end up being decided by the state's General Assembly.

Under state law, the losing candidate can contest an election to a joint session of the state legislature.

"It's unlikely but possible," says Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.

Democrat Mark Herring is leading by 164 votes in the Virginia attorney general's race over Republican Mark Obenshain.

Sabato says he could see the race going before the General Assembly to be decided if the recount resulted in a tie. But he says that's not likely.

"If it were a tie that's another thing entirely. Then you could argue. Maybe you could have a special election, or maybe you should have a drawing - that's what Virginia law says you can do," Sabato says.

The Republican-dominated legislature could order a special election or even declare a winner.

"Their problem is that it would appear nakedly political. And it would be obvious to everyone. I think the criticism would be intense if they overturned any margin, even if it were 10 votes," he says.

Contesting a race is rarely used and the rules, according to the Washington Post, are sketchy.

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