Election winner in VA House race chosen from bowl

Published: Jan. 4, 2018 at 1:31 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 4, 2018 at 6:22 PM EST
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Republicans are still in control of the House of Delegates, at least for now.

Republican Del. David Yancey won the name drawing by the Board of Elections in Richmond on Thursday, breaking the tied race with Democrat Shelly Simonds for the seat representing Newport News.

But this race still may not be over.  Simonds says she's still considering her legal options, which could include another recount.

A state delegate race hasn't been decided this way since 1971. Names on papers, folded into film canisters, pulled from a bowl.

This time, the bowl was on loan from Virginia artist Steven Glass and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

The name drawn, read Virginia Board of Elections Chair James Alcorn, "The winner of House District 94, David Yancey."

Yancey was not there in person due to snowy roads, but Simonds watched from the first row.

"It was a long, hard election season and it does seem like a sad ending to the story to end on a game of chance," she reacted afterward.

Simonds says she is not conceding.

"Yesterday I offered my opponent a deal that would have made this final. He did not take the deal, so for me all options are still on the table," said Simonds.

There's some debate over whether the law would let her seek another recount.

Simonds won the original recount by one vote until a court accepted a disputed ballot for Yancey, tying the race. The court rejected her petition to reconsider Wednesday.

Members of the Board of Elections took the historic moment to urge citizens to vote in elections, and to fill out ballots correctly, saying vote counting machines don't always catch over votes.

"Most of the time, it doesn't tell you that. You have to look at your ballot," said Clara Belle Wheeler, board vice-chair.

Added Alcorn, "It's okay to ask for another ballot. People make mistakes."

In a statement on his Facebook page, Yancey wrote, "For those of you who voted for me, thank you, for those of you who did not, please know that I will sincerely continue to do my best to represent all of us in Richmond."

Del. Kirk Cox (R - Colonial Heights) has said this result leaves the House with a 51-49 Republican majority and that he will likely be elected speaker.

Friday, a federal court will hear arguments over the 28th District delegate race in Fredericksburg, where the Republican won the recount, but dozens of people cast ballots in the wrong races.  If Democrats win that case, another election would be held.

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