Control of Virginia's Senate Too Close to Call
Just 86 votes separate Republican and Democrat
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 9, 2011 4:45 AM CST
People cast votes in Centreville, Virginia in this Nov. 2, 2010 file photo.   (Getty Images/AFP Photo)

(Newser) – Republicans appear poised to take over the Virginia state Senate—by a mere 86 votes. Heading into last night’s election, the Democrats had a 22-18 majority in the chamber, but they lost one seat in a strange race that, thanks to redistricting, pitted two incumbents, one Republican and one Democrat, against each other. That leaves everything hanging on the contest in Spotsylvania where, as of the latest count, Republican Bryce Reeves is just 86 votes ahead of Edward Houck, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. Republicans already control the House of Delegates and the governor's mansion.

Reeves declared victory, as did Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell. But an unknown number of provisional ballots haven’t yet been counted, and Houck’s campaign manager said there “were several significant discrepancies during Tuesday night’s tabulation that deserve further attention.” The AP has not yet called the race. A victory would give Republicans a working majority in the chamber, because Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling would have the power to break ties, the Washington Post explains, though they would not be able to dominate committees.