One vote in recount gives House Democrats 50th seat

Democrats in Virginia and across the country celebrated Simonds victory, which comes after Democrats made sweeping gains across the state in last month's elections, including victories in both the governor and lieutenant governor races.

In the initial count, Simonds had been behind by 10 votes, and the recount found her ahead instead by one vote. According to the Post, legislation in the house requires 51 votes to pass, and there is no mechanism to break ties. A victory for the Democrat would split control of the House of Delegates 50-50 and end Republican control of the chamber, while a victory for the Republican would mean the GOP would continue in the majority.

This is a huge deal for many reasons, not the least of which is that Republicans in Virginia have had a majority in the House of Delegates for 20 years.

Gary Anderson, the Newport News Circuit Court clerk, told NBC News that Yancey's camp brought a statement to the judicial hearing on Wednesday from a county official stating that the official made a mistake by not counting a ballot during the recount.

Now, the election will be determined "by lot" by the Virginia State Board of Elections. That probably would mean a rare power-sharing agreement must be worked out between Democrats and Republicans.

The Dec. 19 recount, which left Simonds with 11,608 votes compared to incumbent Del.

Virginia Democrats picked up one more seat in the House of Delegates Tuesday after a recount in Newport News flipped the results of the November 7 election, according to unofficial recount results.

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He said the ballot in question contained a mark for Democrat Shelly Simonds as well as a mark for Republican Del.

Election officials in Newport News on Tuesday will rescan ballots cast in the 94th District.

The race is now a tie after the contested vote was changed to Republican candidate David Yancey after judges reviewed it. David Yancey presented a letter written by the official to a three-judge panel Wednesday.

One tiny bit of good news for Democrats on an otherwise depressing day came on Tuesday afternoon.

The outsize impact of the one-vote margin came after other close results in off-year elections across the country.

The judges are meeting to certify Tuesday's recount.

Simonds, who appeared on national television as recently as Wednesday morning as the surprise victor of a tense recount that reset state politics, could not immediately be reached for comment.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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