Wilson Staffer Seeks Recount in Va.

Posted January 16, 2009 at 5:55pm

After winning a Virginia primary with only 20 votes, Republican Joe Murray lost the general election by 16 votes last Tuesday and is asking for a recount.

“It was just an amazing, amazing race and it’s still not decided,” said Murray, a staffer for Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.). “We learned that Alexandria is a city of neighborhoods and going door-to-door paid off.”

Murray faced off against Democrat Charniele Herring on Tuesday to be the 46th district’s Delegate at the Virginia State House. Fewer than 3,000 people turned out to vote in the special election to replace Democrat Brian Moran, who resigned his seat to focus on a gubernatorial run.

Murray won the December primary by a mere four votes, and said he was inspired to run by his 18-month-old daughter, who was born with a rare skin disease and has to fight “insurmountable odds” on a daily basis.

“Here’s the deal: I really got into the race for the main purpose of telling my daughter that I was a candidate for a state elected office,” Murray told Roll Call before the race. “If I win, that would be terrific. If I lose, I’ll be able to tell her a great story.”

And a great story is what Murray got. Because it is such a heavily Democratic district, few expected him to win the seat, let alone come close enough to ask for a recount.

“It’s an 80/20 Democrat district so we could have nominated the pope and it would have been a close call,” Alexandria GOP Chairman Chris Marston said before the election.

One of the keys to Murray’s success was sending absentee ballots to voters along with his campaign literature. Because of this, he won almost 80 percent of the absentee vote.

“Once all those were tabulated, the results came down to it being 16 so we were just holding our breaths, saying, ‘oh my goodness gracious,’” he said.