After repeated delays and legal attempts by Democrats to hijack the outcome of HOD-94, refusals to count votes, and even a last-minute gambit to derail the recount process — the coin flip has gone the way of Delegate “Landslide” David Yancey.
From Graham Moomaw over at the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
In front of a packed room at the Capitol and a live TV audience via C-SPAN, State Board of Elections Chairman James Alcorn drew a film canister from a blue bowl and pulled out a strip of paper with Yancey’s name on it.
Yancey’s Democratic challenger in the Newport News-based 94th District, Shelly Simonds, sat stoically in the front row with her husband and daughter as she learned the shake of the bowl hadn’t gone in her favor. Yancey did not attend, leaving empty seats in an area reserved for the Republican side.
Hats are off to Reema Amin over at the Daily Press, who offered what had to be consistently excellent and even-handed coverage of the entire drama as it unfolded (both in writing and via Twitter):
The immediate result of Thursday’s drawing, assuming Yancey is seated on Jan. 10, is that Republicans can narrowly retain control of the House of Delegates with a 51-49 majority. That would have been lost for the first time in 17 years had Simonds won. That majority allows them to choose a speaker of the House and to appoint committees, both of which can greatly affect the kind of policies that pass or fail.
Their majority was whittled down from 66 seats after the November elections, which many political pundits have described as a “blue wave” and a rebuke of President Donald Trump.
There is still a legal challenge in the 28th District, set for a hearing on Friday. Any change in that election could also affect the House. Right now, Republican Bob Thomas is the official winner following a recount there.
Of course, most of the calls for bi-partisanship have come from the Republican side of the House of Delegates, as Democrats ruthlessly raised money off of the drama — claiming that Republicans were “stealing” the election (by ensuring every vote counted) while using HOD-94 as a smokescreen to divert attention away from a politically-charged leadership battle brewing between the liberals under Delegate David Toscano (D-Charlottesville) and the freshman progressives headed up by longtime progressive Delegate Ken Plum (D-Fairfax).