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Virginia 94th House District election 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 Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017. Republican incumbent Del. David Yancey had won against Democratic challenger Shelly Simonds by just 10 votes in November. (AP Photo/Ben Finley)

A Virginia Republican who seemingly lost a recount by one vote will challenge the result

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The Republican incumbent who seemingly lost a recent recount deciding control of Virginia’s House of Delegates by a single vote will challenge the results.

Del. David Yancey’s lawyers on Wednesday said his campaign believes one of his ballots was improperly counted towards his rival’s total the day before.

The attorneys presented a letter written by a GOP election official who participated in the recount to a three-judge panel that must certify the election outcome Wednesday.

The official wrote that although he signed off on the ballot, which was not counted Tuesday, he was confused at the time.

The man wrote that the ballot had both Yancey and Democrat Shelly Simonds’ names bubbled in for Virginia’s 94th House District.

The official noted, however, that the voter in question had chosen Republican candidates in every other race.

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Simonds’ attorneys on Wednesday contended that the ballot should not be reconsidered, leaving the recount as the race’s final result.

The balance of power in Virginia’s state House was seemingly upended by the lone vote during a recount Tuesday.

Simonds emerged as the apparent winner of last month’s election to serve as the delegate representing Virginia’s 94th House District.

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The race’s ultimate victor will determine which political party, if any, gains control of Virginia’s state House.

Tuesday’s outcome flipped one seat in the state House from Republican to Democrat, leaving control in the lower chamber deadlocked.

Yancey clung to a lead of only 10 votes heading into Tuesday’s recount, which took officials five hours to reexamine the 23,215 votes cast on Election Day last month.

The final tally resulted in Simonds squeaking past Yancey 11,608 votes to his 11,607, ending 17 years of GOP control over the Virginia House.

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“I knew it was going to be a roller-coaster ride, and the counts were going to change and votes were going to shift around,” Simonds told The Washington Post Tuesday.

“But I had faith in the system and final outcome,” added Simonds, who shunned Twitter during the recount to avoid anxiety.

“This is part of a huge wave election in Virginia where voters came out in record numbers to force a change in Virginia, and I’m really proud to be part of that change.”

Democrats and Republicans splitting power in the Virginia House 50-50 leaves no solution for potential ties, meaning any legislation lacking 51 voters there fails to advance.

Virginia’s state Senate maintains 21-19 ratio favoring Republicans, but they will also face a Democratic lieutenant governor for breaking ties and a Democratic governor with veto power.

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Tuesday’s recount result is the climax of last month’s Democratic wave that shrank Republican power in purple Virginia.

The makeup of Virginia’s legislative bodies next means the state’s lawmakers may have to cooperate on a more bipartisan agenda.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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