Nov. 4, 11:10 a.m. -- Democrat Dan Gecker has released a statement officially conceding the 10th District state Senate race: “I want to congratulate Glen Sturtevant for his win and for a close and hard fought campaign,” he said in an email from his spokeswoman. “I believe deeply that the issues we ran on will in time reflect the majority of voters in this area — especially health care, equal access to education and even finding ways to end gun violence.”
Nov. 3, 11 p.m. -- In one of the most hotly contested state races in years, Republican Glen Sturtevant appeared to beat Democrat Dan Gecker for state Senate in the 10th District by 49.78 percent of the vote to Gecker’s 47.09 percent.
With all precincts counted, the Virginia Department of Elections reported 27,665 votes for Sturtevant to Gecker's 26,171.
But Gecker refused to concede defeat late Tuesday until the Virginia Department of Elections verified the numbers.
If Sturtevant wins, it means that the Republicans will retain control of the state Senate by a 21-19 margin. That would frustrate a big effort by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, to unjam roadblocks to his political initiatives.
“I think it was a very strong campaign and we ran on the issues,” Sturtevant told Style at the Blue Goat restaurant after giving his victory talk.
But across town at the Casa Del Barco restaurant, Gecker refused to concede defeat, saying he wanted the votes certified.
Early in the evening, Gecker appeared to garner a small but sustainable lead in the 10th District, an area that resembles a jigsaw piece that stretches from liberal areas of Richmond to more conservative sections of Chesterfield and Powhatan counties.
It was in the latter areas where Sturtevant appeared to make a strong stand by garnering an unexpectedly high number of 5,000 votes to overcome Democratic strength in the city. The issue seemed to be the validity of counting those votes.
The fight between Sturtevant, a lawyer, Richmond School Board member and former Eagle Scout, and Gecker, a Chesterfield County supervisor and specialist in developing historic properties, was the most expensive state race in Virginia history, topping $4 million.
Some of the money and support came from national GOP groups. Michael Bloomberg, the progressive media mogul and former New York Mayor, arranged for $700,000 in anti-gun advertising buys to back Gecker. Sturtevant countered with his own ads, making gun control a key issue in the race.
In his brief talk with Style, Sturtevant dismissed Bloomberg’s role, which some analysts warned might backfire in the more pro-gun parts of the district. “At the end,” he said, “it was the people who cared about the economy, jobs and transparency in government.”
Both sides ran tough, aggressive campaigns with plenty of accusations, some of which proved to be false. Two other candidates -- Marleen Durfee, running as an Independent, and Carl Loser, a Libertarian -- won a tiny percentage of the votes.
Another closely watched Senate race was tight. The match in the 29th District, which covers Manassas, was too close to call, but Democrat Jeremy McPike appeared to lead Republican Hal Parrish.
Photography Editor Scott Elmquist contributed to this report