Trailing by 27 Votes, Nine-Year House Incumbent Calls for Recount

Virginia News

Del. Chris Stolle talks to supporters at the Republican victory party in Virginia Beach, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. (Steve Earley/The Virginian-Pilot via AP)

RICHMOND — A Virginia House of Delegates race remains in doubt after the incumbent asked for a recount earlier this week.

Del. Chris Stolle, R-Virginia Beach, filed for a recount on Monday after the State Board of Elections certified the Nov. 5 election results. The results have Stolle trailing his opponent, Democrat Nancy Guy, by 27 votes in House District 83.

“I believe the voters who live and work right here in the district deserve to know that we have left no vote uncounted,” Stolle said in a press release. 

Guy, who did not comment on the pending recount, declared victory on Nov. 8 after initial provisional ballot results gave her a 26-vote lead. After Norfolk’s provisional ballots were certified, Guy’s lead extended to 27 votes.

 Losing candidates are able to request a recount if the margin between the candidates is within 1% of all votes cast, according to the Virginia Department of Elections. The margin between Guy and Stolle currently stands at 0.12%.

Since Stolle trails Guy by less than 0.5%, Virginia Beach and Norfolk will fund the recount. 

In a previous CNS interview, Norfolk Director of Elections and General Registrar Stephanie Iles said the city would aid in the recount “under guidance instructions as provided by the Virginia Department of Elections and the Virginia State Board.” Norfolk has one precinct in House District 83, which Guy won by 111 votes.

This is the 11th House race to go to a recount since 1997. In the 10 previous recounts, the outcome did not change after the recount results were certified.

In 2017, four House races went to a recount, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. The most notable of these was the race for House District 94, where Del. David Yancey, R-Newport News, saw his 10-vote lead over Democrat Shelly Simonds turn into a dead heat after a recount. Yancey would be declared the winner after a drawing from a ceramic bowl served as a tiebreaker. Simonds defeated Yancey earlier this month by over 3,400 votes.

Stolle, who has represented House District 83 since 2010, faced tougher odds in a district that is 12.4 percentage points more Democratic than in years past, according to VPAP. The district was one of several that were redrawn earlier this year after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that Virginia’s previous House of Delegates map was racially gerrymandered. 

Democrats will maintain a House majority regardless of whether Guy maintains her lead after a recount.

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