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With the canvassing process virtually complete in Virginias 5th district and attorney Tom Perriello (D) ahead of Rep. Virgil Goode (R) by nearly 750 votes, the Democratic challenger declared victory Friday afternoon.
It looks like the outcome is now certain. We are going to win this race and pull off the upset, Perriello said.
Perriello said his campaign would now be moving into a transition phase and in that effort he has enlisted the help of former Rep. L. F. Payne (D-Va.), who held the seat from 1998 until retiring in 1996. Goode, then a Democrat, won the open seat and succeeded Payne.
Payne will be helping us to make sure that we can hit the ground running, Perriello said. We are eager to get to work to try to bring jobs back to the area.
But in a statement released earlier Friday afternoon, Goode said he is not ready to concede the race.
With the vote counting process almost complete, it has become clear that there have been a number of reporting irregularities, Goode said in the statement. In fact, almost 20 percent of all the voting precincts in the district had reporting errors. While current unofficial tallies have me trailing my opponent, these irregularities have cast doubt on the reported totals. It is essential that we get to the bottom of these problems and insist on a thorough and proper vote counting process.
Even if the final canvassing totals do show Goode to be down, the race appears to be well within the .5-point threshold set by Virginia election law, which would allow the Congressman to ask for a recount. Goode said earlier this week that he would evaluate that option if he found himself down after the canvassing was complete.
Provided Perriello is officially declared the winner, it would bring the total number of seats picked up by Democrats in Tuesdays elections to 20, with the results of a handful of contests still to be determined.