Democrats win the last election of 2017 by one vote

For the first time in 17 years, Republicans will not hold a majority in the Virginia House of Delegates

By Nicole Karlis

Senior Writer

Published December 19, 2017 5:24PM (EST)

 (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)
(AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

Following a nail-biting recount on Tuesday, Democrat Shelly Simonds officially won the 94th district race against Republican challenger David Yancey in an 11,608 to 11,607 vote.

The one vote difference in the year's last election is monumental for Democrats in Virginia, helping to dismantle the Republicans’ twenty-year control of the Virginia House of Delegates. In a statement, Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) Executive Director Jessica Post confirmed the win that gives Virginia Democrats 50 seats in the state’s lower legislative chamber.

“Delegate-elect Shelly Simonds’s victory tonight is proof that every single vote matters,” Post said in the statement. “With this critical win, Virginia Democrats will add another brick in our expanding blue wall as the DLCC and state Democrats fight back against detrimental policies peddled by the Trump administration and state Republicans. The DLCC is committed to keeping our organizers and legal team on the ground in Virginia until every ballot is counted fairly.”

Yancey initially beat Simonds by just 10 votes last month, triggering an automatic recount. Election officials recounted 24,000 ballots on December 19. The vote was reportedly stressful and intense, as the final recount difference came down to a singular vote.

While this one vote is all that’s needed to separate the balance of power in the Virginia House of Delegates, a couple more recounts are scheduled for this week which could mean more Democratic victories to come. (Simonds' district is one of 16 this year that have flipped to Democratic control this year.) On Dec. 20, another recount will take place in Virginia: House District 68 where Democrat Dawn Adams is ahead of Manoli Loupassi by 336 votes. Then, on Dec. 21, Republican Bob Thomas' 82 votes lead over Democrat Joshua Cole in House District 28 will be reviewed. On Jan. 5, Democrats are also asking for a new election in District 28, where there were 100 voters who were reportedly given ballots to vote in the wrong district.

Virginia joins one of a few nail-biting recounts happening around the country. On December 18, a recount ensued in Idaho where two city council candidates tied in the November election where the incumbent also won by a single vote.

By Nicole Karlis

Nicole Karlis is a senior writer at Salon, specializing in health and science. Tweet her @nicolekarlis.

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