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Random drawing scheduled to break tie in disputed House race

  • FILE- In this Dec. 20, 2017, file photo, Del. David Yancey talks with reporters outside the Newport News, Va., Courthouse. Shelly Simonds, the Democrat in a tied race for a Virginia House seat says she'll ask a court to declare the tie invalid. Simonds' lawyers said Tuesday, Dec. 26, that they'll ask the court to reconsider its ruling after last week's recount. Attorney Ezra Reese said the court violated election law by counting a ballot for Yancey a day after the recount. (Jonathon Gruenke/The Daily Press via AP, File) Jonathon Gruenke

  • FILE- In this Dec. 19, 2017, file photo, Democrat Shelly Simonds reacts to the news that she won the 94th District precincts by one vote following a recount in Hampton, Va. Simonds, the Democrat in a tied race for a Virginia House seat that could affect which party controls the chamber says she'll ask a court to declare the tie invalid. Simonds' lawyers said Tuesday, Dec. 26, that they'll ask the court to reconsider its ruling after last week's recount. (Joe Fudge/The Daily Press via AP, File) Joe Fudge



Associated Press
Friday, December 29, 2017

As Democrats and Republicans continued partisan sniping Friday over a House seat that could determine the balance of power in the Virginia House of Delegates, state elections officials moved to break the deadlock by scheduling a random drawing to pick the winner.

The Virginia Board of Elections said it will pick the winner’s name in the Newport News-based 94th District next Thursday, unless a recount court decides to intervene.

The race between Democrat Shelly Simonds and Republican Del. David Yancey has seesawed since the Nov. 7 election. Initially, it appeared that Yancey had won by 10 votes, but a recount put Simonds ahead by a single vote.

A three-judge recount court later declared the race a tie after agreeing with the Yancey campaign that a disputed ballot was a vote for him. On Wednesday, Simonds asked the court to reconsider, but the panel has not yet responded.

The fight over the seat has been intense as Republicans try to hold on to a majority in the House after a bruising election in which Democrats erased the 66-34 advantage held by Republicans, as voters vented anger toward President Donald Trump.