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Oleszek Packs It In

Democrat Janet S. Oleszek conceded defeat today in her bid to unseat state Sen. Ken Cuccinelli II (R-Fairfax) after a recount of the Nov. 6 election found that she lost by 101 votes.

Oleszek had trailed Cuccinelli by about a quarter of a percentage point in unofficial returns after the election, allowing her to request a taxpayer-funded recount. Out of more than 37,000 ballots cast in the 37th District contest, 92 votes separated the two candidates in Virginia's closest legislative race of the year.

The tally added nine votes to Cuccinelli's winning margin. But the outcome did not decide which party controls the chamber.

Democrats, after picking up four seats, took charge of the 40-seat Senate with a 21-seat majority. Cuccinelli has been in the Senate for five years and is known as a staunch conservative. In the upcoming General Assembly session, he will be the only Republican to represent Fairfax in the Senate.

It is rare for a recount to change the outcome of an election. A notable exception: Del. James M. Scott (D-Fairfax) in 1991 overcame a deficit during a recount and won by a single vote.

Today's recount, held at Fairfax Circuit Court took a little more than three hours and cost taxpayers about $2,000, according to the Fairfax County Board of Elections.

By Bill Turque  |  December 19, 2007; 5:33 PM ET
Categories:  Election 2007  
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