UPDATE: RICHMOND — State Sen. Mark D. Obenshain (R) conceded the race for Virginia attorney general to Democrat Mark R. Herring on Wednesday, saying his “vigorous and hard-fought fight” is over.

Obenshain’s announcement put an end to a drawn-out contest that, on election night, was the closest statewide election in history.

Clean Sweep

by David Nir

According to the Washington Post, Republican state Sen. Mark Obenshain will concede the Virginia attorney general’s race to Democrat Mark Herring on Wednesday. After an initial tally found Herring ahead by just 165 votes out of over 2.2 million cast statewide in November, Obenshain sought a recount, hoping to turn the contest in his favor.

But that recount, which began Monday, has gone very poorly for him. According to an unofficial but very thorough tally, Herring’s lead has bloomed to over 600 votes. That’s thanks mostly to officials uncovering undervotes in heavily Democratic areas like Fairfax County, which uses paper ballots. In a somewhat ironic twist, most of the redder jurisdictions in Virginia rely on electronic voting machines that leave no paper trail for individual votes, so there simply weren’t undervotes to be discovered there.

More importantly, Obenshain’s concession gives Democrats undisputed control of all five of Virginia’s statewide elected positions, for the first time since the late 1960s. That’s a connection in name only, though, as this quintet represents an utterly different party from their predecessors who held sway during the height of segregation. Remarkably, two of these Democrats—Sen. Tim Kaine and Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe—were former DNC chiefs, and McAuliffe ran an explicitly liberal campaign. And the others—Sen. Mark Warner, Lt. Gov.-elect Ralph Northam, and Herring—are incomparably more progressive than Virginia Democrats of yesteryear.

It’s a major sea change in the Old Dominion, and one that should have the GOP very worried. For now, though, Democrats can celebrate a massive set of victories, because very soon, the real work of governing begins.