Republican Wins Drawing Settling Tied Virginia House Of Delegates Race

Virginia House of Delegates candidate David Yancey's name was drawn from a bowl to decide the tied race. Opponent Shelly Simonds could seek a second recount

Virginia House of Delegates candidate David Yancey's name was drawn from a bowl to decide the tied race. Opponent Shelly Simonds could seek a second recount

In a gaggle with reporters following the drawing, Simonds said that it was a "sad conclusion for me and the people of Virginia who needed Medicaid expansion, which was really on the line here".

Democratic candidate for the 94th House of Delegates seat, Shelly Simonds, right, speaks to the media as her husband, Paul Danehy, left, and daughter, Georgia Danehy, center, look on after a drawing to determine the victor of a tied election at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018.

The State Board of Elections certified Yancey's selection after a short ceremony in the state's Patrick Henry building in Richmond after picking his name out of a ceramic bowl. His name was drawn out of a glass bowl.

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The race between Yancey, a three-term incumbent, and Democratic challenger Shelly Simonds has bounced back and forth since the November election, when Virginia Democrats - fueled by voter anger directed at Republican President Donald Trump - wiped out a 66-34 advantage held by Republicans in the House. Yancey's win allows Republicans to maintain a slim majority in the House, though a final tally is still uncertain.

Kirk Cox, who is expected to be elected speaker now that Republicans will retain majority, said there was no time left to debate the election since the House of Delegates is set to open for this year's business in just six days.

The drawing of lots took place after an election, recount and legal battles between Yancey and Simonds ended in a tie. The election has been widely seen as a potential harbinger of the 2018 midterm congressional elections. Simonds demanded an immediate recount.

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Simonds appeared to have lost the November election by 10 votes, but on December 19, she won a recount by a single vote. Democrat Ralph Northam also won the governor's race. Republican Delegate David Yancey won the drawing. Democrats hope to block Republican Bob Thomas from being seated.

Another House of Delegates seat, District 28, is still in dispute: in the Fredericksburg area, a group of Democratic voters has asked a federal judge for a new election after a mix-up over district boundaries caused some voters to be assigned to the wrong districts. The next day a court declared a tie after it counted a vote for Yancey. We hear over and over from Republicans about alleged voter fraud, but here is a case in which our Department of Elections has concluded that real, identifiable voters were actually disenfranchised.

Clara Belle Wheeler, the board's vice chair, called it an "unprecedented event" in Virginia history, noting that while tied races have been decided by lottery in the past, the stakes had never been high enough to tip the balance of the state's storied legislative body. A hearing regarding the request for a new election is scheduled for Friday in Alexandria.

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