Free Lance-Star reporter Chelyen Davis covers Virginia government.
17th Senate: Canvass (almost) done, Reeves ahead
Update at 3:45: Houck is planning a press conference at 5 p.m. today.
Update: It turns out Reeves and the Republican Party of Virginia spoke too soon — the canvass isn’t quite over yet. Louisa County is still counting, although they’re close to finished, according to staff in the registrar’s office. Earlier this morning, Reeves and RPV had sent out press releases saying the canvass of votes was completed and Reeves had won.
Republican Bryce Reeves says the canvass of votes in the 17th state Senate district is finished this morning, and that he has come out the winner.
The state Board of Elections hasn’t yet updated its numbers, but as of yesterday afternoon, Reeves was up by 224 votes over incumbent Democrat Edd Houck.
“The canvasses in all jurisdictions… have concluded and they have confirmed that the people of the 17th district have elected me to serve as their state Senator,” Reeves said in a press release. “I am looking forward to serving the people of the 17th district and working with Gov. Bob McDonnell in Richmond to create jobs, grow our economy, improve our schools and keep Virginia moving in the right direction. I want to thank everyone who came out to vote, regardless of who they voted for, and I look forward to serving all of the people of the 17th district.”
The 17th has been a nail-biter, not least because it will determine control of the Senate. With Reeves’ win, Republicans have 20 seats to Democrats’ 20 seats. But Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling casts votes to break ties, and said yesterday he would vote with Republicans to organize the Senate with Republican leadership and committee chairmen. He and other Republicans said they’re not interested in a power-sharing agreement, like the Senate had for a few years in the 1990′s.
The 17th district election is so close, however, that Houck could ask for a recount. State law allows for a recount if the difference in votes between the two candidates is 1 percent or less of the total votes cast. In this race, about 45,000 votes were cast, making 1 percent around 450.
The results are not official until certified by the state Board of Elections on Nov. 28. Houck would have 10 days after that to ask for a recount.
Houck posted on his Facebook page earlier today that he would have a statement today.