A Republican seat flipped Democratic in a wild recount Tuesday - with the Democrat winning by a single vote - creating a rare 50-50 tie between the parties in the House of Delegates and refashioning the political landscape in Richmond.
Democrat Shelly Simonds emerged from the recount as the apparent winner in the 94th District of the House of Delegates, seizing the seat from Republican incumbent David Yancey. A three-judge panel still must certify the results, an event scheduled for Wednesday.
Of the 23,866 votes cast in the Newport News district on Election Day, Yancey held a tenuous lead of just 10 votes going into Tuesday’s recount.
But five hours and much nailbiting later, after painstaking counting overseen by local elections officials and the clerk of court, Yancey’s lead narrowed before it gradually disappeared and then reversed, allowing Simonds to beat him by one vote.
The final tally: 11,608 for Simonds to 11,607 for Yancey.
Power sharing in the House of Delegates is an awkward exercise. Committee chairs have to be negotiated as does the person who will serve as Speaker. With the parties split 50-50, there is no mechanism to break ties and any legislation short of 51 votes does not advance. Republicans hold a slight 21-19 edge in the state senate but with a Democratic lieutenant governor to break ties, and a Democratic governor with veto power, Republicans may be forced to advance a more bipartisan agenda.
One vote flipped a seat from GOP to Democratic. That one flipped seat in turn tied up the State House of Delegates rather than giving the GOP control.
One single vote.
One single vote may be the difference between Medicaid expansion in Virginia and no expansion, which the GOP in the House of Delegates swore to block.
One single, solitary vote.
No wonder the GOP is trying to do everything they can to disenfranchise Democratic voters. One vote can change everything.