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Delegate candidates react to possibility of recount

Republicans hold the state's top offices, and picked up several seats in the House of Delegates during the election.

VIRGINIA, USA — Razor-thin margins in Virginia Beach and the city of Hampton have set the table for possible recounts in two House of Delegates races. 

Republican candidates Karen Greenhalgh and A.C. Cordoza hold leads in the race for House of Delegates District 85 and District 91, respectively. 

However, each candidate holds a lead by a margin of less than half of a percent, which allows for democratic incumbents Del. Alex Askew and Del. Martha Mugler to request state-funded recounts.

"If you're within 1% to .51%, you have to foot the bill, you as the candidate. Anything less than that, the city and state pay for that recount process," Jeff Marks said, the chairman of the Virginia Beach Electoral Board.

RELATED: Two recounts appear likely in tight Virginia House races

District 85 

On Nov. 2, Del. Askew's team released a statement claiming victory, reading: "It’s now official. Thanks to your support, we’re going back to Richmond!"

That narrative has since changed, as Greenhalgh leads Del. Askew by 127 votes according to the Virginia Department of Elections.

In a statement to 13News Now, a spokesperson for Greenhalgh's team said the following: 

Delegate Askew has every right to request a recount and to ensure that every legally cast vote is counted. However, after the canvass, provisional ballot hearings, and all absentee votes were tabulated, Karen Greenhalgh's lead stands at an insurmountable margin of 127 votes. She will be moving forward as Delegate-elect, and she would like to express her thanks to Delegate Askew for his service to the Commonwealth.

Kate Sarna, Communications Director for the Virginia House Democrats, released in a statement to 13News Now on behalf of Del. Askew's campaign:

Especially in a race as close as this one, it is critical that we honor each and every cast ballot. Therefore, in light of the tabulation error that occurred in House District 85 last week, we support further efforts to ensure every vote is correctly counted.

District 91

According to more correspondence shared via Sarna, Del. Mugler's campaign originally conceded the race a few days after Election Day, issuing the following statement on Nov. 5:

The final numbers were tallied this afternoon, and while we did move the needle in our direction with the final provisional and mail-in ballots, it was not enough to overcome our opponent’s lead.  I am disappointed for the many citizens who did support this campaign.

Days later, Del. Mugler's campaign responded with the following:

Last night, we were made aware of an error that occurred while reporting vote counts in House District 91. In light of this news and the significant shift we have seen in the count since Tuesday night, we think it wise to do our due diligence to make sure every vote is fairly and accurately counted. We will allow the process the full time and effort it takes to ensure accuracy.

Republican candidate A.C. Cordoza holds a 94 vote lead over Del. Mugler, according to the DOE. In a statement to 13News Now, he says:

Mrs. Mugler has every right to ensure that every legal vote is counted and that the count is accurate. However, after a completed canvass and provisional vote tally I firmly believe the result will remain unchanged. I am proud to have been elected to serve the citizens of the 91st District.

Recount process

According to Marks, the re-tallying process would itself take about a day, but the entire process might take up between 2-3 weeks. 

"The recount doesn't start until the candidate requesting it files a petition with the court," Marks said, who says in the event of a recount, would try to finalize the results by mid-December.

"My experience at least anecdotally is that the numbers do change. It's never been anything significant, it hasn't changed the outcome but numbers do change."

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