OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Democrats say they want every vote to count, but when those votes go against them they are not above going to court.
This time, in what is likely to become a common theme for them as the 2022 midterms approach, they were disappointed with the results, The Associated Press reported.
In last month’s elections, Republicans swept the races in Virginia for the state’s legislature which gave the GOP control over that branch and now a three-judge panel has upheld the victory.
The Republicans also won the positions of governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, marking a comeback for the GOP who had not won a statewide election in Virginia since 2009.
The Democrats are still ahead 21 – 19 in the state Senate, whose elections will not be held until 2023, keeping the state legislature split between the two parties.
The certified results from the election showed Republicans leading in 52 districts and the Democrats leading in 48. The recount in the 85th District race resulted in Democratic incumbent Alex Askew gaining 12 votes, but he still trailed Republican challenger Karen Greenhalgh by 115 votes. There was one contested ballot. The panel found that the intent of the voter was unclear, so that ballot was not counted for either candidate.
After Democrats requested recounts in two races with razor-thin margins, that left open the remote possibility of a 50-50 split.
Though the second recount, in the 91st District, is still expected to proceed next week, Democrats no longer have a shot at undoing the GOP’s majority. Askew is an incumbent freshmen first elected in 2019, when Democrats flipped both the House and Senate.
Askew accepted his defeat after the results of the recount were made official as he thanked those who had worked with and supported him.
“While this is not the outcome we hoped for, I continue to be filled with optimism for the future of our Commonwealth and of the city of Virginia Beach,” he said.
Republicans celebrated the victory and their new majority in the Virginia House.
“With only one recount outstanding, House Republicans are excited to begin working for the people of Virginia. Now that the majority is official, we can move forward with a timely transition as to be prepared to work on day one,” Todd Gilbert, the Speaker-designee, said.
Current House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn praised Askew for the work he has done over the years and offered congratulations to Greenhalgh.
“While the results of the recount did not change the initial outcome of the election, it was a necessary step to ensuring faith in our Democratic process. And a similar, necessary process to ensure every vote is counted will occur next week in House District 91,” she said.
As for Greenhalgh, she tweeted about her victory and offered thanks to Askew for his service in the House.
“The recount is over and has confirmed what we knew on Election Day. I’m grateful for the trust of the 85th District and to those who helped see this victory secured. It’s time to get to work for Virginia Beach. I also want to thank Del. Askew for his service to the Commonwealth,” she said.
The recount is over and has confirmed what we knew on Election Day. I’m grateful for the trust of the 85th District and to those who helped see this victory secured. It’s time to get to work for Virginia Beach.
I also want to thank Del. Askew for his service to the Commonwealth.
— Karen Greenhalgh (@KGreenhalgh85) December 3, 2021
And incoming Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin also shared his support for her.
“I look forward to working with Karen to make Virginia the best place to live, work, and raise a family,” he said.
The results of last month’s elections could be a sign of buyer’s remorse for voters in the state that President Joe Biden won by just over 10 percentage points in the 2020 presidential election.
Considered to be a blue state, this election leaves many wondering how Virginia will vote in 2024.