Republican wins lottery-style drawing for control of Virginia statehouse

  • Republican wins lottery-style drawing for control of Virginia statehouse

Republican wins lottery-style drawing for control of Virginia statehouse

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Republican incumbent David Yancey was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates Thursday after his name was drawn from a bowl in an odd tie breaking measure mandated by an arcane state law.

It was a heartbreaking loss for Democrats and Mrs. Simonds, who trailed Mr. Yancey by 10 votes coming out of Election Day and took a one-vote lead after requesting an initial recount.

As NPR's Brett Neely reported, Virginia law says that when candidates have an equal number of votes, the state election board shall "determine by lot which of the candidates shall be declared elected".

"This has never been done before for the longest-running legislative body in the New World", said Wheeler.

A Virginia recount court on Wednesday rejected a bid by the Democratic candidate in a disputed state House of Delegates race to reconsider its ruling that the election had ended in a tie, Washington's WTOP radio reported.

It's the latest chapter in an unusual and drawn-out process to decide a victor in House District 94 in Newport News.

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.

Like Yancey, Simonds would not commit to a specific course of action, though, if she loses the drawing. It's unclear whether the drawing will be contested.

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.

Democrat Shelly Simonds, who was on hand for the drawing, looked on stoically with her husband and daughter by her side.

"This is a sad conclusion for me", she said, sounding a lot like she was conceding defeat.

Simonds could choose to ask for another recount of the original ballots, though observers from both parties acknowledge it would likely be hard to convene another recount panel in time for the Virginia General Assembly to convene on January 10 in Richmond.

"I want to thank the voters who came out on November 7", Simonds said in a statement after the December 19 recount. Many were either reporters or Simonds' supporters.

"This race was really the pale end of a blue wave", said Simonds of Democratic wins in the state.