The Curse of 'Macaca'...
The only thing worse than stepping in a steaming pile of macaca, is having to accept the painful knowledge that it was your own damn macaca you stepped in!
AP: Webb the Winner
Wire Service Declares Democrat Winner
By David Royer
and Joel Banner Baird/staff
STAUNTON — The fun is over. Now comes the cleanup.
Jim Webb’s narrow, come-from-behind win over Sen. George Allen in the U.S. Senate race Tuesday has yet to be certified.
In a conference call today, Democrats sounded confident that Webb would prevail. But until it’s official, local political volunteers say they’re holding their breaths awaiting the results.
“I’m cautiously optimistic, but it’s pretty nerve-racking, because it’s not a position we’ve been in before,” said Salome Baugher, chairwoman of the Staunton Democratic Committee.
AP contacted election officials in all 134 localities where voting occurred, obtaining updated numbers Wednesday. About half the localities said they had completed their post-election canvassing and nearly all had counted outstanding absentees. Most were expected to be finished by Friday.
The new AP count showed Webb with 1,172,538 votes and Allen with 1,165,302, a difference of 7,236. Virginia has had two statewide vote recounts in modern history, but both resulted in vote changes of no more than a few hundred votes.
An adviser to Allen, speaking on condition of anonymity because his boss has not formally decided to end the campaign, said the senator wanted to wait until most canvassing was completed before announcing his decision, possibly as early as Thursday evening.
The adviser said that Allen was disinclined to request a recount if the final vote spread was similar to that of election night.
Webb lost in Staunton by 350 votes, and by much wider margins in Waynesboro and Augusta County.
Still, Baugher said Democrats have been building momentum in Staunton since the elections of Mark Warner and Tim Kaine to the governor’s seat.
“I credit the Republicans for getting that marriage amendment on the ballot. I think Webb would’ve won otherwise,” she said.
Anne Taetzsch, chairwoman of the Staunton Republican Committee, was excited over her party’s win in the city, but she worried about statewide results showing Allen down by some 8,000 votes.
“There’s always human error,” she said.
Both Taetzsch and Baugher said Tuesday’s results reflected changing demographics in a state that had remained a Republican stronghold for decades.
“This is the second one that’s been this close,” Taetzsch said, recalling Republican Bob McDonnell’s embattled race for attorney general last year. “It shows that Virginia is becoming more of a battleground state, and I hope it energizes Republicans to realize that we can no longer take it for granted that we are red.”
Former Gov. Mark Warner said during a telephone interview Wednesday that a vote recount would confirm Jim Webb’s Tuesday night victory over Sen. George Allen.
“I’m confident in Virginia’s system; We’ve had close races here before,” he said.
Warner said Webb would announce details about his transition team later.
Meanwhile, he added, hundreds of legal volunteers were in place around the Commonwealth to monitor local review of election results through Monday.
“Individual ballots won’t be scrutinized during this canvassing period,” he said. “It’s just a chance for local election boards to take a fresh look at the numbers they wrote down at the end of a long day.”
Warner introduced Washington attorney Marc Elias as the head of Webb’s legal team during the actual verification of votes — which could begin Nov. 27 if Allen requests a recount.
Elias told reporters that recount votes in Virginia typically confirm official results in a retabulation of data.
“In this state a recount is much more limited than what people remember from Florida,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.