WASHINGTON — On the last day Virginia accepted ballots postmarked on or before Nov. 3, Democratic Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger increased her lead over Republican challenger Del. Nick Freitas, with a margin of 4,785 votes (1.08%) separating the candidates by late Friday.
The race has still not been called by CBS News or the Associated Press, with the Virginia Public Access Project reporting an estimated 10,000 mail-in votes are outstanding across Henrico and Chesterfield counties.
After several thousand absentee votes put Spanberger in the lead Wednesday evening, the first-term congresswoman declared victory in a race where in-person voting results favored her opponent significantly on Election Day.
Freitas told supporters he would wait until vote tabulations are checked for human error, a standard process implemented in every Virginia locality called a vote canvass.
Tuesday, Nov. 10 is the deadline for Virginia jurisdictions to certify their election results. Officials in Richmond will then review the voting data and election paperwork, with a deadline of Nov. 13 to certify the results for the commonwealth.
Analysis from VPAP showed six of the 10 counties in the battleground congressional district did not report mail ballot tabulations on Friday: Amelia, Chesterfield, Goochland, Henrico, Louisa, and Powhatan counties.
Culpeper, Orange, Spotsylvania and Nottoway counties did report additional counts of mail-in ballots, awarding 118 votes to Spanberger, and 91 votes to Freitas.
The unresolved race drew more national attention Thursday, when Spanberger suggested on a heated Democratic caucus conference call that liberal views and perceptions of the party led to avoidable Democratic defeats.
“We need to not ever use the word ‘socialist’ or ‘socialism’ ever again… We lost good members because of that,” Spanberger said on a recording of the call obtained by the Washington Post. “If we are classifying Tuesday as a success… we will get [expletive] torn apart in 2022.”