Republican concedes Va. AG race amid recount

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Associated Press

Posted on December 18, 2013 at 6:19 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 18 at 6:41 PM

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Republican Mark Obenshain has conceded the race for Virginia attorney general to Democrat Mark Herring, who has built an insurmountable lead in a recount.
 
Obenshain acknowledged at a news conference Wednesday that Herring had widened his lead beyond the mathematical possibility of closing the gap or surpassing him. Herring's campaign claims an 866-vote lead.

"It has become apparent that our campaign is gonna come up a few votes short," Obenshain said. "Our goal since election day was to ensure we got an accurate result in this election."

Obenshain petitioned for a recount after he trailed Herring by 165 votes out of more than 2.2 million ballots cast on Nov. 5. At that point, it had been the closest statewide race in modern Virginia political history.

"I am immensely proud of positive campaign we ran in one of the most negative campaign environments in Virginia history," Obenshain said. 

Sen. Mark Herring made his debut as Virginia's attorney general-elect, promising to deliver "mainstream leadership" to the state.
 
The northern Virginia Democrat met with reporters Wednesday hours after Obenshain conceded .
 
Herring said Obenshain was gracious in defeat.
 
Herring will succeed Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who lost a Republican bid for governor. Cuccinelli has been an activist conservative, unsuccessfully challenging the nation's health care law and taking on climate scientists.
 
In contrast, Herring supports abortion rights and gay marriage.

Herring's win completes a Democratic sweep of the top of the statewide ballot -- the first since 1989 when L. Douglas Wilder was elected governor. Democratic Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe led the sweep this year.

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