A single vote in a House of Delegates election in Virginia is all that separated Democrat Shelly Simonds and Republican David Yancey after a recount Tuesday, in a result that will likely give Democrats partial control of the body for the first time in nearly 20 years.
The results of the recount still need to be certified by a circuit court in Virginia, a process expected to take place later today, but after Tuesday’s counting, Simonds led Yancey in Virginia’s 94th House of Delegates district 11,608 votes to 11,607.
Democrats in Virginia and across the country celebrated Simonds victory, which comes after Democrats made sweeping gains across the state in last month’s elections, including victories in both the governor and lieutenant governor races. Democrats are now poised to take partial control of the House of Delegates for the first time since 2000. Simonds victory became the 16th seat in the Virginia House of Delegates Democrats were able to flip in this year’s elections, creating an even 50-50 split in the body.
“I want to thank the voters who came out on Nov. 7,” Simmonds said Tuesday following the recount. “This victory is 100 percent their victory because it wouldn’t have happened without their participation. What a difference this is from 2015 when I ran before. Everyone came out and we rocked this town. I want to thank everyone who supported us over the course of this campaign. Whether it was knocking on doors, posting on social media or donating a few dollars, it all made a difference and added up to an amazing outcome on election day.”
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez also congratulated Simonds on her victory, and alluded to the potential for Democrats to pass more progressive legislation in the state.
“The power of every vote has never been clearer. Just one vote secured Shelly Simonds’ victory and shifted the balance of power in the Virginia House of Delegates, ending a 17-year Republican majority. Just one vote has cleared the way for Democrats in the commonwealth to advance a progressive agenda that puts Virginia families first,” Perez said in a statement released Tuesday evening. “I want to congratulate Shelly on her historic win, and every volunteer, organizer, and Democratic voter who made this possible. Simply put, every vote counts.”
Barring any last-minute challenges in court, if Simonds victory is certified, Republicans and Democrats in the House of Delegates will need to come to a power-sharing agreement.
While that agreement, coupled with Democrats as governor and lieutenant governor, could allow the party to pass a more progressive agenda on health care and other issues, Republicans still hold a slim 21-20 majority in the Virginia State Senate.
Virginia’s junior U.S. Senator, Tim Kaine, also celebrated Simonds’ victory yesterday, tweeting: “EVERY.VOTE.MATTERS.”