Election 2020

Virginia State House Seat Flips for Dem in One-Vote-Victory Recount

Election officials in Newport News, Va., examine ballots that a computer failed to scan during a recount for a House of Delegates race on Dec. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Ben Finley)

A Virginia statehouse race that appeared to be won by the Republican by votes on election night has swung to a one-vote advantage for the Democrat in an unofficial recount.

That would mean the Virginia House of Delegates, which was two-thirds GOP going into Election Day, would end up at an even 50-50 split in the new year.

That also ends the Republican Party’s 17-year majority in the Virginia House.

Republican David Yancey had 11,601 on election night compared to 11,591 for Shelly Simonds, a Democratic member of the Newport News School Board and former teacher. There were 675 votes recorded for Libertarian candidate Michael D. Bartley and 22 write-in ballots.

The race went to a recount, and the tally swung 11,608 to 11,607 today in favor of Simonds, according to the Virginian Pilot.

The recount results will go to a panel of judges for certification Wednesday. Local media reported that election officials say there are no contested ballots.

Incoming Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam tweeted that the recount shows “every vote matters.”

Virginia House Republican leaders issued a statement congratulating Simonds and stating “the responsibilities of the House of Delegates as an institution transcend party labels, and our obligations to govern this Commonwealth remain.”

“As we have said for the last six weeks, we are committed to leading and governing alongside our colleagues,” GOPs said. “We must balance the budget, grow our economy, improve our schools, and fight the opioid crisis, to name a few of the tasks before us.”

The new session starts Jan. 10.

“We are ecstatic to welcome Shelly Simonds to our caucus,” House Democratic Leader David Toscano and caucus chairwoman Charniele Herring said in a statement. “Shelly ran a fierce campaign focused on education and access to affordable health care. We are one vote closer to expanding Medicaid and extending access to affordable health care to nearly 400,000 people.”’

Simonds said she was “thrilled” by the flipped result. “I’m just thinking about all of the possibilities, all of the things we can get done in Richmond,” she said.