Virginia officials on Thursday determined that incumbent Del. David Yancey (R-Newport News) is the winner of a vital seat in the state's House of Delegates, according to NBC News.
NBC News on Thursday reported that Yancey was declared the official victor after his name was drawn from a canister.
The lottery broke a tie between Yancey and challenger Shelly Simonds (D) that has lasted since last month when a three-judge panel declared their contest deadlocked.
Simonds can next request a recount of the election's results, which will have a major impact on the balance of power in Virginia's House.
Yancey remaining the winner would help the legislature's Republicans retain a majority they have held for 18 years, while Simons claiming the seat instead would evenly split the chamber's makeup along party lines.
Virginia officials on Thursday will pick the winner of a crucial seat in the state’s House of Delegates by lottery, according to The Washington Post.
The Post on Wednesday reported that Virginia’s State Board of Elections will pick the victor’s name from a stoneware bowl fashioned by a Virginian artist.
The unusual ritual will break a tie between incumbent Del. David Yancey (R-Newport News) and challenger Shelly Simonds (D) over a seat representing Virginia’s 94th House District. The seat is pivotal as it will determine whether the GOP’s grip on Virginia’s House of Delegates ends after 18 years.
Simonds emerging triumphant would split the 100-member chamber in half along political party lines.
A recount court in Richmond, Virginia on Wednesday rejected Simonds’ request to throw out the disputed ballot that has left the race deadlocked in a tie since last month.
Simonds on Wednesday offered to accept the results of the following day’s drawing as final, but only if Yancey vowed to do the same.
“This proposal…will ensure that our friends and neighbors have a voice in the House of Delegates on Jan. 10,” she wrote to him.
Yancey, however, rejected Simonds’ offer, leaving open the possibility of a recount following Thursday’s lottery.
“I am not going to deny myself or the people of the 94th district due process simply because of the unnecessary delays that have got us to this point,” he said.
The candidate who loses Thursday’s drawing can request a recount, a process that will likely remain uncompleted when Virginia’s House of Delegates convenes on Jan. 10. A pending recount would likely mean neither candidate gets seated by then, based on history, leaving Republicans with a 50-49 majority when delegates pick the chamber’s next speaker.
The speaker, once chosen, may only be ousted by a two-thirds majority, and they also make all committee appointments in Virginia’s state House.
Yancey won an initial counting of the contest last November by 10 votes, only for Simonds to seemingly sneak past him by one ballot in a recount the next month.
A three-judge panel in December then declared the race a tie, citing an irregular, uncounted ballot should go to Yancey.
The resulting political saga has since drawn national attention due to the high stakes involved and the rare circumstances surrounding the outcome.