Virginia House of Delegates could end up in 50-50 party split

Virginia House of Delegates could end up in 50-50 party split

ABINGDON, Va. - Virginia's House of Delegates could end up with a 50-50 party split after a race in Newport News ended in a tie.

Wednesday afternoon, a court decided a ballot originally left uncounted would go to Republican incumbant David Yancey. The ballot had both the Republican and Democrat marked, with the Democrat's name marked out.

Before the court decision, a recount put Democrat Shelly Simonds ahead by only one vote. The original results declared Yancey the winner by just 10 votes.

Virginia's constitution says the winner of a tied election is decided by lot.

If Simonds wins, the House of Delegates will have an even 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans at the same time that the house speaker is retiring.

"Not having a speaker presiding over a potential 50-50 tie is something that they'll be talking about in Virginia history classes for years to come," Delegate Israel O'Quinn, R-Glade Spring, said. "No one knows exactly how this one is going to play out."

O'Quinn says he hopes a tied house will reach agreements and avoid gridlock.

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