The Virginia Board of Elections has scheduled a random drawing to pick the winner of a House seat that could determine the balance of power in the Virginia House of Delegates
State elections officials said they will pick the winner’s name in the Newport News-based 94th District next Thursday, unless a recount court decides to intervene.
The race between Democrat Shelly Simonds and Republican Del. David Yancey has seesawed since the Nov. 7 election. After a recount, it appeared that Simonds had won by a single vote. But a court later declared the race a tie after agreeing with the Yancey campaign that a disputed ballot was a vote for him. On Wednesday, Simonds asked the court to reconsider, but the panel has not yet responded.
An image of the ballot in question obtained by Political dig shows bubbles filled in for both candidates, with a line through the bubble for Simonds. Reasonable minds may disagree as to whether the intent of this voter to select Yancey was clear. But this much is certainly clear: the single vote has made all the difference.
But the conservative judges ruled that that ballot should be counted for Yancy, leaving the race tied.
The fight over the seat has been intense as Republicans try to hold on to a majority in the House after a bruising election in which Democrats erased the 66-34 advantage held by Republicans, as voters vented anger toward Republican President Donald Trump.
During a conference call with reporters Friday, GOP House Leader Kirk Cox — who hopes to become the next speaker of the House — criticized Democrats for causing “politically motivated delays” in deciding the 94th District race.
Simonds said Yancey is to blame for the delay.
“We won the recount … it should have been over, and the next day, the Yancey team pulled a stunt. So this delay is squarely on him,” she said Friday, according to ABC News.
If Simonds ultimately wins, the House would be evenly split, 50-50, between Democrats and Republicans. If Yancey wins, the Republicans would have a 51-49 edge.