Virginia GOP announces AG nominee; vote-counting to continue

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Republican Party of Virginia announced late Sunday that state Del. Jason Miyares has won its nomination for attorney general, as the party works to tabulate the votes for several state offices cast by tens of thousands of Virginia Republicans.

Hand-counting of the ballots began earlier Sunday with several dozen people managing the effort, which started with the attorney general contest, John March, a spokesperson for the Republican Party of Virginia said.

Voters cast their ballots a day earlier in the party's nominating contest for governor and other statewide offices.

March said the governor's race would be counted second, followed by the lieutenant governor’s race.

Officials have warned it may take multiple days to finish the counting, which was complicated by the ranked-choice voting method used, as well as a proportional representation system awarded each city and county.

The GOP opted, after a bitter, drawn-out fight, to hold what it called an unassembled convention on Saturday. Because pandemic restrictions ban mass gatherings, delegates cast ballots Saturday at nearly 40 polling sites statewide.

Miyares won out against three other candidates: Leslie Haley, a law firm partner and elected official in Chesterfield County; Chuck Smith, a former U.S. Navy JAG commander; and Jack White, a minister, Army veteran and former clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Jr.

“I want to congratulate Jason on his victory this evening,” said state party chairman Rich Anderson in a statement. “Running for Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Virginia is no easy task, and this is a critical first step.”

Democrats will choose their nominees for statewide offices in a primary June 8. In that party's nominating contest for attorney general, state Del. Jay Jones is challenging incumbent Mark Herring.

The Washington Post reported that the start of Sunday's vote-counting was briefly delayed after a housekeeper entered the ballroom where the ballots were stored and snapped tamper-proof tape that had been used to seal the room. That set off a frenzy to investigate and review video to make sure nothing was amiss, according to the newspaper.

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