Democratic state Sen. Mark R. Herring took the lead in the extraordinarily tight Virginia attorney general race Monday evening, after he picked up more than 100 previously uncounted votes in Richmond.

Herring had started the day trailing his Republican opponent, state Sen. Mark D. Obenshain (Harrisonburg), by a mere 17 votes out of 2.2 million cast. But as jurisdictions across the state continued to scrub their vote counts, the State Board of Elections showed Herring with a 117-vote lead late Monday.

Lawyers from both parties have descended on elections offices in Fairfax County and Richmond. Meanwhile, the campaigns said they were cautiously optimistic but were bracing for a long, drawn-out battle, which appears almost certainly headed to a recount and could seesaw again.

Take Maddow’s conspiracy angle with a grain of salt as you watch WTOP anchor Max Smith break down the situation (beginning at the 10:24 mark)..