NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Delegate Lynwood W. Lewis kept his scant lead over Republican Wayne Coleman in a recount of a special Senate election Monday, giving Democrats control of the upper chamber.
According to media reports, the recount widened Lewis' lead over Coleman to 11, an increase over the 9 votes that separated the candidates in a Jan. 7 special election for the Hampton Roads and Eastern Shore District.
Lewis will succeed fellow Democrat Ralph S. Northam, who successfully ran for lieutenant governor. His former district, Senate 6, includes Norfolk, a slim section of Virginia Beach and the Eastern Shore.
Lewis' win keeps the party affiliation in the Senate even at 20-20, while the House of Delegates is overwhelmingly Republican. The lieutenant governor casts the tie-breaking vote in the upper chamber, giving Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe a bargaining chip to push his agenda in the General Assembly.
The Republicans had held the tie-breaking vote last year under Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling.
McAuliffe, Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring, all Democrats, swept the top of the Virginia ticket in last year's election. The last time that occurred was in 1989.