ARLINGTON, Va. (WJLA) — A GOP legislative candidate who won in 2017 after his name was drawn from a bowl, cementing Republican control of the House of Delegates, has lost his bid for re-election.
Democrat Shelly Simonds defeated Republican Del. David Yancey in Tuesday's race for the 94th District. The contest was a rematch after Simonds lost the tiebreaker two years ago.
The district was recently redrawn by a federal court, making it friendly to Democrats.
That random drawing in 2017, in a meeting room packed with dozens of reporters, photographers, and political operatives, selected the winner in the hotly contested 94th District Delegate race in Newport News.
Each candidate had ended up with exactly 11,608 votes.
Yancey initially appeared to win the 94th district seat by 10 votes. But a recount gave Simonds the victory by a margin of a single vote.
Republicans later issued statements congratulating Simonds, even conceding the race.
The next day, a three-judge recount panel certified the race as a tie after Yancey’s attorneys successfully argued that an uncounted ballot should have been included in his total.
A Republican recount official submitted a letter to the court saying he was “confused” about election board guidelines when he agreed to leave the vote uncounted.
On the ballot in question, the voter filled in the bubble for Yancey and the bubble for Simonds. He or she also drew a single slash through the bubble for Simonds.
That voter also selected only Republican candidates on the rest of the ballot.
“There are many states that use random drawings such as ours,” said James Alcorn, the Virginia Board of Elections chairman.
The drawing consisted of printing each candidate’s name on separate pieces of paper.
Each piece was slipped into a film canister, then both of the small containers were tossed into a glass bowl, stirred around, and then Alcorn reached into the bowl, pulled one canister out, and read the name.
“David Yancey,” he said in a loud voice, holding up a small printed sheet.
If Simonds’ name had been drawn, the Democrats would have won enough seats to have a tie for control of the House of Delegates. And with a Democrat winning as lieutenant governor, control of he House would have swung to the Democrats.
See AP's full projection of House and Senate results HERE.