Virginia Beach lawyer Kevin Martingayle has narrowly won the vote for president-elect of the Virginia State Bar. Martingayle’s margin of victory over Raymond Benzinger of Fairfax was less than 2 percent, according to VSB figures.
Virginia lawyers cast 3,072 ballots for Martingayle, compared to 2,955 for Benzinger, reported VSB executive director Karen Gould. The difference of 117 votes was just 1.94 percent of the total votes cast.
Ballots were sent to nearly 30,000 lawyers, the total VSB membership as of Oct. 1, Gould said. Twenty percent of the ballots were actually cast.
There is no regional breakdown of voting. “We don’t track that,” Gould said.
The vote was entirely by paper ballot, and the votes were carefully counted, Gould said. She said her assistant maintained daily counts for each candidate as the ballots were received. The daily counts were compared against the totals to ensure accuracy.
Martingayle will assume the title of president-elect at the VSB annual meeting in June and will take office as president the following year.
“Primarily, I intend to keep the train on the tracks,” Martingayle said Monday. His goals include protecting the judicial branch, promoting dialog with court clerks, advocating for raises for VSB staff, and serving as an ambassador from the bar to the general public, he said.
Asked about the close vote, Martingayle acknowledged there might be a regional factor. The number of Virginia-licensed lawyers in the Northern Virginia area is close to the number of lawyers throughout the rest of the state, he said.
Benzinger said he had attempted to call Martingayle to congratulate him.
UPDATE: This post was updated on March 4, 2013, to correct the figure for the difference in vote totals for the candidates.
By Peter Vieth