Republican Wins Dramatic Virginia House Race After Random Drawing

Frederick Owens
January 7, 2018

"This is a sad conclusion for me", Simonds said.

After over 20,000 ballots were cast, recounted and then re-examined in court, the outcome of a deadlocked election that would determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the Virginia House of Delegates came down Thursday to a couple of black canisters in a ceramic bowl.

The drawing is the second attempt by Virginia election officials to settle the race after Yancey appeared to beat Simonds by 10 votes in the 94th district.

Yancey's election, should it stand, would give Virginia Republicans a 51 - 49 majority in the state House, enabling them to confront Virginia Governor-elect Ralph Northam's progressive agenda.

Virginia Republican David Yancey is the victor of a tie-breaking drawing for a House of Delegates seat, a result that appears to allow Republicans to barely hang on to control of the chamber.

He left the speaking to House Republican Leader Kirk Cox and his top deputy, Del.

More news: Trump Just Disbanded His Contested Election Integrity Commission

Yancey, the incumbent Delegate for the seat, did not make the trip to Richmond for the 11 a.m. drawing, however several Republican staffers attended. The election has been widely seen as a potential harbinger of the 2018 midterm congressional elections. However, today's vote was even more significant because it will also determine the speaker of the house and committee assignments.

Yancey is not expected to be seated when the legislature reconvenes on January 10 should Simonds request a recount.

Simonds appeared to have lost the November election by 10 votes, but on December 19, she won a recount by a single vote.

At the heart of the dispute in the race for a seat in the oldest legislative body in the country is a single ballot on which the voter filled in the bubble for both Simonds and Yancey. The voter also drew a single slash through the bubble for Simonds and picked Republican candidates in statewide races. The next day, the Republicans made a decision to violate the rules and throw a Hail Mary pass created to convince local judges to count an additional ballot in their favor, with no legal justification and no advance notice to opposing counsel. 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. But voters filed a federal lawsuit after at least 147 ballots were found to be assigned to the wrong districts.

The balance of power in the House could shift again because a lawsuit is pending over the results of another House race in Northern Virginia. Democrats hope to block Republican Bob Thomas from being seated. A hearing regarding the request for a new election is scheduled for Friday in Alexandria.

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