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Virginia GOP Rep. Goode Defeated in Late-Decided Election

RICHMOND, Va. -- Challenger Tom Perriello defeated Republican Rep. Virgil H. Goode by 745 votes out of more than 316,000 cast to help Democrats regain a 6-5 majority in Virginia's congressional delegation, according to election results certified Monday by the State Board of Elections.

The slim margin of 0.24 percentage points in the 5th District race entitles Goode to demand a recount at taxpayer expense. Mike Brown, the Goode campaign's canvass coordinator, said a decision would be announced Monday afternoon.

Perriello was confident the certified vote would hold up, campaign spokeswoman Jessica Barba said.

"The official vote canvassing process that took place in the days immediately following the election was extensive, thorough, and overseen by representatives of both parties," she said.

Republicans entered the Nov. 4 election with an 8-3 edge in Virginia's U.S. House delegation but lost three seats, restoring the one-seat margin Democrats lost in the 2000 congressional elections. Glenn Nye defeated Rep. Thelma Drake, R-2nd, and Democrat Gerald E. Connolly won the 11th District seat of retiring Republican Rep. Tom Davis.

The board also certified the rest of the election results, including Democrat Barack Obama's victory over Republican John McCain in the presidential race. Obama won 52.63 percent of the vote to become the first Democrat to carry Virginia since Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

Obama will officially receive Virginia's 13 Electoral College votes at a Dec. 15 meeting, which is being moved from the state Capitol's old House chamber to the new one to accommodate larger than usual attendance by spectators. Kathryn Parker, an intern for the state board, said the session also will be recorded and made available to schools.

The board also certified Democrat Mark R. Warner's landslide victory over Republican Jim Gilmore for the U.S. Senate seat of retiring GOP Sen. John Warner, who is not related to his successor. Warner won with 65.03 percent of the vote, giving Democrats both of the state's U.S. Senate seats for the first time since 1970.

Jean Cunningham, board chairwoman, said heavy voter turnout did not cause any big problems, largely because so many Virginians voted early.

"My fear as we approached Election Day was not that we'd have hanging chads, but hanging Virginians out in the cold late at night," she said. "We didn't have that."

The board will review how the election was conducted at a Jan. 9 meeting.

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