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Virginia House split after Democrat wins recount by one vote

By
Daniel Uria
Democrats won an equal number of representatives in Virginia's House of Delegates after a recount in the election for a new seat was decided by a single vote. File Photo by roibu/Shutterstock
Democrats won an equal number of representatives in Virginia's House of Delegates after a recount in the election for a new seat was decided by a single vote. File Photo by roibu/Shutterstock

Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Virginia's House of Delegates is split evenly between Republicans and Democrats after Democrat Shelly Simonds won a seat by a single vote in a recount Tuesday.

Simonds gained 11 votes on incumbent David Yancey, defeating him by a vote of 11,608-11,607 and evening the chamber at 50 members per party. Republicans held control for 17 years.

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A three-judge panel is required to verify the results Wednesday, but Simonds thanked voters for coming out in record numbers to help settle the "roller coaster" election.

"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," she said.

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Republicans previously held a 66-34 advantage in the House, and a power-sharing agreement, which blocks any legislation short of 51 votes, may allow Democrats to expand Medicaid coverage in the state now that the chamber is split.

"We are one vote closer to expanding Medicaid and extending access to affordable healthcare to nearly 400,000 people," Delegate David Toscano said following Simonds' victory. "Let's get this done."

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Republicans conceded the race and acknowledged they will no longer hold a majority.

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"The responsibilities of the House of Delegates as an institution transcend party labels, and our obligations to govern this commonwealth remain," Republican chamber leader Kirk Cox said. "As we have said for the last six weeks, we are committed to leading and governing alongside our colleagues."

Democrats have a chance at gaining an additional seat in another recount scheduled for next week in Fredericksburg. The Republican candidate leads by 83 votes in the district where Democrats said more than 800 voters in the district were given incorrect ballots.

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