House of Delegates candidates Lily Franklin (left) and Chris Obenshain (right) spoke Oct. 3 with moderator Dwayne Yancey in Blacksburg. Photo by Markus Schmidt.

Republican Chris Obenshain on Tuesday topped his Democratic opponent Lily Franklin by 52%-48% of the vote in the most competitive House of Delegates race west of Richmond, but Franklin continues to hold off conceding the race for now. 

While a 4% margin isn’t considered slim, Franklin is hoping that a count of provisional ballots might push her over the edge. According to the the State Board of Elections site Obenshain is winning by 943 votes, but that could change once Montgomery County has processed the locality’s 955 provisional ballots, which is expected to happen on Monday, the registrar’s office said Wednesday. Under Virginia law, late-arriving mail ballots will also be counted as long as they were postmarked by Tuesday and arrive by Monday.

“We’re withholding any statements about the outcome of this race until all the ballots are counted,” Franklin’s campaign manager, Eleanor Roy, said Tuesday evening, citing a different number. “Unofficial results show that there are more than 2,000 provisional, uncured mail ballots, and unreturned mail ballots in the two counties that HD-41 covers.” 

Obenshain lost in Montgomery County 45% to 55%, but he trounced Franklin in Roanoke County, 68% to 32%. 

Cardinal News, the Associated Press and other news outlets called the race for Obenshain late on Tuesday. 

Another race that’s still waiting on provisional ballots and mail ballots is the state Senate race on the Peninsula, where Republican Danny Diggs holds a 1,684-vote lead over state Sen. Monty Mason, D-Williamsburg. Democratic Party leaders say they believe there may be 2,000 or more votes still out there, many from students at the College of William & Mary who registered to vote on Election Day and whose ballots are considered provisional.

Markus Schmidt is a reporter for Cardinal News. Reach him at or 804-822-1594.