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Democrat Wins Virginia Senate Seat After Close Recount

Virginia Del. Lynwood W. Lewis Jr. (D-Accomack) won a closely-watched state Senate race Monday, delivering a boost to recently inaugurated Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

Lewis was initially declared the winner on January 7, but his opponent Republican businessman Wayne Coleman demanded a recount. With all ballots counted Monday, Lewis beat Coleman by 11 votes to occupy the state Senate seat vacated by Lt. Gov. Ralph S. Northam (D). With this win, Democrats are now poised to move many of Gov. McAuliffe's agenda items in the state Senate, including expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, granting new rights to same-sex couples and increasing public school funding.

The state Senate race became even more contentious last week when pro-choice Democrat Jennifer Wexton beat out two Republicans to win a special election seat that was previously held by Attorney General Mark Herring (D). Although the Virginia state Senate is now split evenly, Democrats are expected to control the chamber since Lt. Gov. Northam, who presides over the state Senate, has the ability to break most tie votes. The Virginia House of Delegates remains controlled by Republicans.

Media Resources: Richmond Times-Dispatch 1/28/14; Washington Post, 1/29/14, 1/27/14, 1/11/2014; Feminist News, 1/22/2014