Democrats Just Won The Virginia House Of Delegates By A Single Vote

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When people say that every vote counts, they are not kidding.

After apparently losing the original vote by a handful of ballots, Democrat Shelly Simonds has been declared the winner of the recount in Virginia’s 94th District by the narrowest of margins.

After the votes were all tallied this afternoon, Republicans had lost their majority in the Virginia House of Delegates by a single vote. The result is still to be certified by a panel of judges and Democrats are waiting on more potential pickups.

“Simonds picked up two votes in the Denbigh precinct and one each in the Epes, Reservoir, Wellesley and Boulevard precincts. [Republican incumbent David] Yancey also picked up one vote in Wellesley,” Reema Amin reported this morning in the Newport News Daily Press.

Yancey held on to a tiny lead until the afternoon. “Simonds picked up 16 votes after four teams counted through irregular ballots — overvotes, write-ins and undervotes.  Yancey picked up five, pushing Simonds into the lead by one vote,” Amin updated.

The victorious candidate “remembered how a Democrat Jim Scott prevailed in a recount in 1991 to turn a 17-vote loss into a 1-vote win – earning the nickname ‘Landslide Jim,'” according to The Washington Post.

“I may become Landslide Shelly,” she told reporters. “As long as they call me delegate, I’m okay with it.”

With each party now holding 50 seats in the 100-member body, the Democratic lieutenant governor holds the tie-breaking vote. When the Virginia elections were held in November, the GOP had a 66-34 advantage.

“There’s no tie-breaking procedure for the House of Delegates,” Andrew Prokop explains at Vox.com, “so if the final result is 50-50, it seems that the parties will have to negotiate some sort of power-sharing agreement to determine how the chamber will function (who will be speaker, who will chair the committees, and so on).”

“But this isn’t completely unprecedented — it happened in Virginia’s House of Delegates after the 1997 elections, and the parties did reach a deal in the end.”

However, there will probably be no need for perfect bipartisanship. Another recount tomorrow is expected to confirm Dawn Adams as the winner in the 68th District, giving Democrats an outright majority.

The results are a warning to Republicans in Washington as they conduct a smash-and-grab on the US Treasury with their unpopular tax cut bill: a Democratic wave is coming, and their gerrymandered US House majority could be washed away. By November 2018, every state could be the next Virginia.

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Featured image via Tim Evanson Flickr under Creative Commons license

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