State Board of Elections to pick winner in tied House of Delegates race next week

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - The State Board of Elections will randomly select the winner in the tied House of Delegates race on January 4.

In a letter sent Friday morning, Trevor Stanley, lawyer for the Republicans, said drawing names is the "only resort," and called for election officials to pick a winner.

Shelly Simonds and David Yancey remain tied following a recount last week in the 94th district race. The General Assembly session begins on January 10th. In a conference call on Friday morning with reporters, Del. Kirk Cox, the Republican House leader, said if the process isn't complete by then, no one will be seated and Republicans would organize at a 50-49 advantage.

Earlier in the week, the board's chairman, James Alcorn, postponed a scheduled drawing of names after Simonds filed several court motions challenging the tie and requesting the judges declare her the winner. Alcorn said drawing names is " an action of last resort" and any concerns about the recount should be resolved before doing that.

On Friday morning, Republicans also filed several court filings opposing the Democrats' court motions. "[Democrats are] trying to litigate their way to victory and try this case in the court of public opinion versus what the law says," said Del. Cox. "Their efforts could deny the people of the 94th district representation in the House of Delegates.

Cox also said certain aspects of the Governor-Elect Ralph Northam's inauguration may not be able to go on as planned if the uncertainty over the seat continues. "It really makes it difficult to carry through with those functions that are very important," he said.

In a statement, Democrats responded by calling comments about the inauguration "a smokescreen to hang on to power." They also echoed earlier statements saying Simonds won the recount. "The court erred both in admitting the ballot for consideration, which broke the rules of the citizen-led recount process, as well as in counting the ballot for Yancey, which, according to guidelines from the State Board of Elections, had already been accurately classified as an overvote by both the Democratic and the Republican observers," the statement said.

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