GOP names their man in VA special election; AG recount casts its shadow

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PURCELLVILLE, Va. ??? Republicans named their candidate in the special election for the Lt. Gov.-elect, Ralph Northam???s soon-to-be-vacant state Senate District 6 seat, but the unresolved attorney general race leaves the Senate majority in limbo.

Wayne Coleman, a first-time candidate  and businessman, beat out two lawyers,John Coggeshall and Richard Ottinger, in the firehouse primary Thursday night, to grab the party???s nomination.

Coleman is chief executive officer Norfolk-based commercial shipping and freight company CV International Inc.,and is emphasizing fiscal responsibility in his Senate bid against  long-time Democrat state Delegate Lynwood Lewis.

If Lewis wins, the Virginia Senate will remain evenly tied. If Coleman pulls off a victory in the historically Democrat-leaning district, then the republicans will gain a majority in the senate and limit the Lt. Governor???s role as the tie-breaker.

Voters in the primary used paper ballots to cast their votes.

???The voting machines are locked up because of the pending (attorney general) recount,??? said GOP spokesman Garren Shipley.

Also locked up is the possibility that the state Senate will remain tied in the coming session.

Since both attorney general candidates, Mark Herring and Mark Obenshain are sitting senators, another special election will take place to fill the winner???s vacated seat.

The groundwork for a special election in Herring???s 33rd Senate District is under way. District Democrats will hold a primary Saturday in anticipation that Herring will win.

John Whitbeck,District Republican Committee chairman, is reportedly a Republican contender for the seat.

Whitbeck made waves for making an anti-Semitic joke at a rally for Ken Cuccinelli in September.

Longtime Republican Delegate Joe May, who lost the 33rd District seat to tea party favorite Dave LaRockis reportedly considering a run as an independent candidate.

The Republican Party of Virginia says they don???t have anything planned in Herring???s district beyond the attorney general recount.

???We???re not looking past the recount at this point. Mark Obenshain will be the next attorney general,??? Shipley said. ???The most likely scenario is that there will be a special election in the 25th District when Obenshain replaces Herring as the attorney general-elect.???

Contact Bre Payton at or follow her on Twitter@Bre_payton.