A single vote may spell the end of Republican control in Virginia’s House of Delegates. A Democratic challenger seems to have won a recount Tuesday by one vote, putting the partisan balance in the House at a tie. It would mean a rare power-sharing agreement may have to be brokered.
Shelly Simonds beat three-term incumbent Republican Del. David Yancey in the 94th District in Newport News, 11,608 to 11,607, in a dramatic hours long recount that ended only after the precinct ballots were exhausted and provisional ballots were examined. The recounted votes still must be certified by a court Wednesday, although officials said they expected that no ballots would be challenged. Simonds, a school board member, had initially appeared to lose November’s election by just 10 votes. Simonds’ recount victory in this mostly blue collar district is an aftershock to the Democratic quake that shook more affluent areas in Virginia’s elections.
The Republicans’ commanding 66-34 majority in the House plummeted to a 51-49 edge. It’s now split 50-50 with Simonds’ apparent win.
“We’re now 50-50,” Gov. Terry McAuliffe told The Associated Press. “And we won it by one vote. Don’t tell me that every vote doesn’t count.” The governor added that Democrats could gain control of the House in case another recount flips another district. “This is the biggest win since the 1880s,” he said.