Republican David Yancey wins Virginia House seat after name pulled from bowl

Shelly Simonds and David Yancey

Shelly Simonds and David Yancey

That result appeared to wrest control of the chamber away from Republicans, who'd gone into November with almost a two-thirds majority in the House of Delegates.

Judge Bryant Sugg of the Newport News Circuit Court handed its ruling to the court clerk at 12:21 p.m. Wednesday.

The victor of a crucial Virginia House of Delegates race was decided for the GOP candidate by lot on Thursday after judges rejected a Democratic challenge of a vote that could have broken a tie.

State officials conducted the event with a certain amount of pomp. The name of each candidate, printed on a piece of paper, was placed into separate film canisters. The canisters were put into a cobalt-blue-and-white ceramic bowl made by a local artist, stirred around and Yancey's name was chosen. David Yancey is expected to file for a second recount in the 94th District if Democrat Shelly Simonds' name is drawn.

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.

With Yancey's win today, the House will be at 51 Republicans, 49 Democrats, allowing Republicans to likely hold onto their control of House committees.

"I am disappointed by the court's ruling, with which I disagree", Simonds said.


Simonds, a school board member and former teacher, also said she plans to run again in 2019, which would be her third bid for the seat.

The drawing broke the 11,608-to-11,608 tie between Yancey and Democrat Shelly Simonds, who is entitled by law to request a second recount.

Last week, Del. M. Kirkland Cox, R-Colonial Heights - who has been the apparent choice for speaker of the house - said the 94th seat would likely be unfilled by the first day of the legislative session on January 10 because the loser of the draw could ask for a recount. "Now, it's time to get to work". A ceramic bowl. A quick swirl and that's all it took to pick the victor of a hotly contested Virginia House of Delegates seat - where the contest was improbably tied.

"The past few weeks have been unprecedented to say the least, but the process laid out in state law worked", Cox said in a statement. "An additional recount, while clearly allowed by law, would deny the people of the 94th District representation and make it more hard for the House to organize smoothly".

While the drawing could decide which, if either, party controls the House, the determination may not last long: Republican Del. However, a previously uncounted ballot for Yancey tied up the race, 11,607 votes to 11,607 votes.

The drawing was already delayed once after the board decided not to draw names while Simonds was still challenging the results of the initial recount.

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