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UVA Center for Politics Analyst Weighs in on Drawing to End Tie in 94th District Race

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David Yancey (Photo courtesy davidyanceyfordelegate.com) David Yancey (Photo courtesy davidyanceyfordelegate.com)
Shelly Simonds (Photo courtesy www.simondsfordelegate.com) Shelly Simonds (Photo courtesy www.simondsfordelegate.com)
Geoff Skelley Geoff Skelley

The Virginia Board of Elections plans to hold a random drawing on Dec. 27 to break a tie in a state House race that could swing partisan control of the chamber.

Wednesday, a day after a recount appeared to give Democrat Shelly Simonds the victory over Republican Del. David Yancey, a three-judge panel certified the 94th District as tied at 11,608 to 11,608 after deciding to count a ballot that was incorrectly marked.

By law, the winner's name will be drawn at random by an election's official. If Yancey wins, Republicans will hold on to power in the House by one seat, 51-49. If Simonds wins, a rare bipartisan power-sharing agreement would have to be brokered.

We sat down with Geoff Skelley, a political analyst at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics to talk about how this could shake up Richmond.
Skelley is calling this election historic. He says it's the first time there's been a tie in a race for the House of Delegates since Virginia moved to single member districts in 1982.

According to Skelley, both Democrat Shelly Simonds and Republican incumbent David Yancey's names will be placed in a film canister and the name drawn will decide the winner.

If Simonds' name is drawn, the House will be split 50-50, and there will have to be some sort of power sharing agreement. But Skelley says debate won't stop there.

“It sounds like actually in the statute for the drawing of lots that the loser can actually ask for a recount,” he stated. “We’ve already had a recount and I guess it’s the potential that the loser could ask for yet another recount."

If another recount were to happen, Skelley says it's likely the seat will remain empty during the beginning of the 2018 General Assembly. 

Skelley added that regardless of the whether the House is 51 Democrats to 49 Republicans or a 50-50 tie, incoming Governor Ralph Northam has a much better chance of having his agenda heard.

The Associated Press Contributed to this article. 

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