Democrat will not file contest for Va. House election redo

WASHINGTON — Democrat Joshua Cole will not contest his narrow election loss to Republican Bob Thomas, despite earlier indications that he was considering asking the House of Delegates for an election do-over.

Thomas won the 28th District race by 73 votes.

Cole had repeatedly raised concerns about the 147 total voters in the Stafford and Fredericksburg area who cast votes in the wrong races across the 28th, 88th and 2nd House districts because they were assigned to the wrong districts in a state voter registration database.

Cole, who had signaled he was strongly considering filing a contest, will instead continue to support the ongoing federal lawsuit filed by voters seeking a new election. The judge in that case had indicated at a previous hearing that while a new election may be the fairest outcome, it might be up to state law remedies like an election contest to make that happen.

Thomas had asked for that lawsuit to be put on hold until after any such contest proceedings. A hearing in the lawsuit, including on the motion to stay, is scheduled for Jan. 5.

Any contest in the House would likely have come down to a largely party-line vote, and Democrats apparently believe the lawsuit may offer better odds.

The House is expected to be either evenly split or narrowly controlled by Republicans when it convenes Jan. 10, depending on the result of the 94th District race in Newport News.

That race remains up in the air after Democrat Shelly Simonds asked a court Tuesday to reconsider its finding that the race was a tie.

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