Holding a growing lead in an election
likely to face a recount, Democrat Jim Webb proclaimed victory
early today over Republican Senator George Allen.
"The votes are in and we won" Webb told jubilant supporters in
The Democratic challenger's victory proclamation came less than
an hour after Allen told his supporters in Richmond that the
counting would continue into today.
With 99 percent of the vote counted, Webb's lead was 11,700
votes out of more than 2.3 million cast in the race seen as pivotal
in the battle for control of the Senate.
Only four precincts remained to be counted, but the process
promised to be long and tedious with both sides watching every step
of the way after a bitter campaign fight.
There are no automatic recounts in Virginia, but state law
allows a candidate who finishes half a percentage point or less
behind can request a recount. With a margin greater than half a
point but less than one percentage point, the trailing candidate
can also seek a recount, but would have to pay the costs if the
results are unchanged.