Judge sets Tuesday hearing to discuss Del. Stolle’s petition for a recount

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The Republican incumbent who lost this month’s election for the House of Delegates 83rd District seat has filed for a recount.

Del. Chris Stolle filed the petition in Virginia Beach Circuit Court on Wednesday through his attorney, Jeff Marks.

The preliminary hearing on this matter will be held on Tuesday, November 26.

The Virginia Beach Voter Registrar met with Virginia Beach Chief Judge Glenn Croshaw Thursday to set the preliminary hearing date to set the rules of the recount. The recount will likely take place Dec. 12 and 13. The race’s 21,954 ballots will be run through high-speed scanners just like they did for three other recounts last December.

The difference that separates the candidates is 27 votes.

Delegate-elect Nancy Guy, a Democrat, declared victory Nov. 8. The race was highly-contested.

“I’d rather be me than him,” Guy told 10 On Your Side before a lunch at The Main in downtown Norfolk. Guy eked out a victory at the polls over five-term incumbent Del. Chris Stolle (R) 83rd District.

“The polling always showed it was neck-and-neck. He is a 10-year incumbent whose family has run Virginia Beach for a quarter of a century, so I always knew this race would be razor-thin and our polling bore that out,” Guy added.

Stolle’s attorney Jeff Marks began the process by filing a motion requesting a recount. Stolle is allowed to request the recount by state law.

“Del. Stolle not only has a right to do this, but also owes it to his supporters, and the City of Norfolk and Virginia Beach, to do this,” Marks told 10 On Your Side before going up to the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office.

The delegate himself says it’s too close not to recount.

“It is not a perfect system. Humans make decisions on the day of elections, machines make errors when they are doing the counting. We know it is not a perfect system … and every recount produces a new result.”

It’s not a perfect system.

Last December, three Virginia Beach City Council races were so close they got recounted. None of them were overturned.  

Delegate-elect Guy accepts what needs to be done.

“Look, it’s all part of the process, and we have to go through every vote and make sure it gets counted. My lawyers tell me historically since mine is only 19 precincts, and 27 is the number I lead by, that margin should hold.”

History is not on the side of elections overturning. The system almost always gets it right.

During the election, both campaigns knew it would be close, and the polls showed it.

“Each poll we did showed we were in the margin of error. We were, essentially, even all the way through the campaign, through the TV commercials — all those commercials really didn’t move the needle that much.”

According to the most recent Virginia Public Access Project fundraising numbers, Stolle’s campaign raised $905,000 and Guy raised $797,000.

“We saw (the influence) with $350,000 dollars coming in from outside the state in the last week,” Stolle said of the out-of-state money that poured into Democrats’ campaigns across Virginia. “There was a huge interest in the district that had nothing to do with the 83rd District…I do think it is negative when we are looking at what is best for the citizens.”

Guy says her win was part of a blue wave Democratic explosion.

“I do think that was caused, in part, by sentiment with the electorate because of what the obstructionist Republicans had shown on certain critical issues like the [Equal Rights Amendment] and gun safety, and that is all going to move forward now,” she said.

As for Stolle, he knows history shows it’s unlikely the losing candidate will become the winning one.

“I have not conceded the race… There has been no phone call… We haven’t talked since the election, so the race is undecided until the recount is done.  It would be premature to concede at this point,” he said.

Stolle and Guy went to Cox High School together, so 10 On Your Side asked them what that shows all these years later.

“It shows you have people who stay a long time, interested in Virginia Beach, and in the district, and that is a good thing,” Stolle said.

Guy took the question on a more personal route.

“We had mutual friends… He played soccer, and I dated a soccer player, so I knew him. Chris was a good soccer player,” Guy said.

In this year’s election, Democrats successfully flipped both the state House of Delegates and Senate. Democrats are now the majority for the first time since 1999.

Democrats who take over in January plan to pass universal background checks on guns, add discrimination laws based on sexual orientation or gender identity in housing and ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

Until the votes are tallied again, Guy’s not slowing down preparations for her new role, she said Tuesday.  

“I’ve already been to two caucus meetings to discuss bills so I’m gearing up to do the job that, as far as I know, the people of the 83rd District elected me to do,” Guy said.

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