Candidate seeks recount in Virginia attorney general race

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — A Republican who narrowly lost the nomination for attorney general at a party convention in Virginia is requesting a recount.

Hard-right candidate Chuck Smith lost to Del. Jason Miyares by a 52-48 margin after ballots of more than 30,000 delegates were counted Sunday.

The contest was closer than expected, and involved multiple rounds of voting under a ranked-choice voting system implemented by party officials.

In a statement Monday, Smith said he requested the recount after reports that, in the final round of balloting, ballots from him were added to Miyares’ stack and vice versa. Smith’s campaign provided no further details about what allegedly occurred.

“Owing mainly to the need for transparency of the voting process and the integrity of the count, I am hereby requesting a recount of the ballots … before any consideration is given to concession,” Smith said.

In a statement, the Republican Party of Virginia said the result does not qualify for a recount because it was far wider than the 1% threshold necessary for such a step to take place. Party officials also said the count was transparent, the results were accurate and observers with Smith’s campaign never raised any objections when the results were announced.

Party officials changed the counting procedures several weeks ago at the request of some candidates who insisted on a series of transparency measures.

“Having not met the threshold for a recount, I sincerely hope that Chuck will withdraw his request for a recount and unite behind Jason Miyares and the rest of the 2021 Republican ticket,” state party Chairman Rich Anderson said in a statement.

The recount request came as ballots were being counted in the governor’s race. Another hard-right candidate, state Sen. Amanda Chase, has also questioned the legitimacy of the count, and has raised the possibility of running as an independent if she feels she’s been cheated from the nomination. She was in third place as ballots were being counted Monday evening.

Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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