STAFFORD, Va. — Republican Bob Thomas was confirmed as the winner of Virginia’s 28th House District Thursday following a recount that narrowed his margin of victory.
According to unofficial recount results, his opponent Democrat Joshua Cole picked up a net 9 votes, but he was still 73 votes short of Thomas.
A three-judge recount panel confirmed those results Thursday afternoon after counting two challenged ballots for Cole.
The two voters wrote Cole’s name on the ballot in addition to filling in the bubble next to his name.
Thomas initially was declared the winner in the race with a margin of 82 votes. He will take office with the rest of the freshman class in January.
However the Cole campaign still hopes to force an election do-over to address 147 voters who cast ballots in the wrong race and is backing a federal lawsuit seeking a new election in the race.
Cole said after the court hearing that he had not yet decided whether to file a contest of the election with the House of Delegates.
The 28th District includes parts of Fredericksburg and Stafford County. Outgoing House Speaker Bill Howell, a Republican, chose to retire this year leaving the seat open.
The race was among four House recounts with control of the chamber at stake. The 28th District recount maintains Republicans’ slim 51-49 majority.
A tie House race in Newport News however could erode the party’s grip on power further should the Democrat win a name-drawing set for next week.