Unless Court Intervenes, House of Delegates Control to Be Determined Next Week

Dec 29, 2017

Credit AP Photo / Steve Helber

Last week, election officials called off a random drawing to determine the winner of a House race in Newport News. Now, as Michael Pope reports, the tie-breaker is back on.

A recount in Newport News determined that Democratic challenger Shelly Simonds won a House race there by one vote against Republican incumbent David Yancey. Then the recount court added a controversial ballot in favor of the Republican, causing a tie. The State Board of Elections was planning a random drawing to determine a winner last week, then called it off after Democrats asked the recount court to reconvene and reconsider. Now that both sides have had an opportunity to file motions, elections officials have rescheduled the tie-breaking ceremony for next week. Republican House Leader Kirk Cox says Democrats are trying to delay.

“They know they are wrong on the law. But this is a deliberate strategy. Talk about not following the rules. Democrats have sought to delay and obstruct at every turn.”

Simonds says Republicans are to blame.

“Unfortunately my opponent David Yancey caused this delay by making an end-run around the rules just because he didn’t like the results of the recount, which both Democratic and Republican observers agreed I won fair and square.”

Unless the recount court reunites and decides to overturn its earlier ruling, the random drawing will take place Thursday January 4th at 11 am. That’s when the chairman of the State Board of Elections will reach into a glass bowl and randomly select a film canister bearing the name of the winner — a decision that will determine control of the House of Delegates.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.