Democrat Shelly Simonds on Thursday said she feels won the Virginia House of Delegates race “fair and square” as she and Republican incumbent David Yancey battle over an election result that ended in a tie.
A random drawing was expected to determine the winner until Simonds filed a legal challenge disputing the tie, asking the Virginia Board of Elections to delay the drawing scheduled for Wednesday.
“I do have a problem with doing a game of chance now, because I do feel now I did win fair and square during the recount,” Simonds said on CNN’s “New Day.”
ADVERTISEMENT”I mean, wow, winning by only one vote,” she added.
Yancey originally appeared to beat Simonds by 10 votes on Election Day, but after a recount, Simonds seemed to inch ahead in the race by just one vote.
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A three-judge panel then ruled that a ballot, previously tossed out, actually counted toward Yancey — a decision that produced a tie between the two candidates.
Virginia officials reportedly agreed on Tuesday to delay the lottery drawing as they reviewed the ballot after Simonds asked the Newport News Circuit Court to reconsider counting the one ballot that went in favor of Yancey on the basis that election officials failed to properly follow state procedure in the recount
Simonds’s lawyers in the lawsuit say the decision of the three judge panel is a “clear legal error,” running “contrary to Virginia law” by counting the previously tossed-out ballot in the final tally. They say the ballot could’ve only entered into consideration at the end of a recount — not redetermined the following day.
“If the recount had shown that it was a tie, then I would’ve been more open to this. But because I feel that I am the rightful winner, I am very uncomfortable with the turn of the story,” Simonds told CNN.
“I do have a lot of faith in the system. I thought the recount went really well,” she added.
The race could also swing the balance of power in Virginia’s House of Delegates. If Simonds is seated, it would produce a rare, even split in the House between Democrats and Republicans.