By Corey Hutchins

CHARLESTON, SC — A week and a half after Election Day, the outcome of Virginia’s race for attorney general remains not quite settled—despite a tug-of-war in the headlines that have declared, at various times, Republican Mark Obenshain and Democrat Mark Herring as being in the lead. After Tuesday’s deadline for local boards to certify their election results, unofficial statewide totals show Herring ahead by 164 votes out of 2.2 million cast. If that holds up, Democrats will control all five statewide offices and both U.S. Senate seats in Virginia for the first time since Woodstock. But a recount is possible, and no one who’s been paying attention so far would be surprised to see things change again.

One thing is certain, though: the past 10 days have seen a new standard for scrutinizing contested election results, and the emergence of a social media star at that line of work. It’s already been said that what National Review reporter Robert Costa was to the government shutdown, David Wasserman has been to this previously obscure election for the commonwealth’s top prosecutor.

Wasserman is the 29-year-old wunderkind political analyst and self-described “quant-politics nerd” who serves as the U.S. House editor for the non-partisan Cook Political Report. His precinct-level knowledge of Virginia politics, statistical savvy, and obsessive bird-dogging on Twitter of election bureaucrats have been key factors in bringing problems with the vote-counting to light—and getting them corrected.

Wasserman Tweet

Tweeting as @Redistrict, and armed with spreadsheet data he compiled throughout the vote-counting process, Wasserman began sounding alarms in real time, challenging officials’ initial declarations that all ballots had been counted in certain areas. He crowd-sourced his findings, relied on tips, and shared a Google document with others who were able add insight and context. Discounted at first, Wasserman’s efforts ultimately led election officials—who, he’s quick to note, set their own high standards for transparency and engagement—to uncover uncounted ballots in certain precincts. (ABC News has a good short look at Wasserman’s post-Election Night feed here.)