Luck of the draw helps Republicans hold Virginia House


RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — By luck of the draw, incumbent Republican David Yancey won a Virginia state House of Delegates race so close that its outcome was determined today when an elections official pulled his name out of a ceramic bowl.

The drawing of lots happened after the race between Yancey and Democratic challenger Shelley Simonds ended in tie. The win allows Republicans to maintain a slim majority in the House, though a final tally is still uncertain because Simonds could ask for another recount. Adding another wrinkle: Another close legislative race is in doubt because it's locked in a court battle.

The drawing drew a large, if lopsided, crowd to the Virginia elections board meeting. Many of the people packed into the room were either reporters or Simonds' supporters. Yancey did not attend but did have a few GOP staffers there to watch.

The name of each candidate was printed on a piece of paper and placed into separate film canisters. The canisters were put into a cobalt-blue-and-white ceramic bowl made by a local artist, stirred around and Yancey's name was chosen first.

As Yancey's name was announced by Board Chairman James Alcorn, Simonds sat stoically, holding the hands of her daughter and husband seated beside her. There were no cheers from Yancey's few supporters. The electric mood went suddenly still.

Simonds endured a long moment of silence as the elections officials certified Yancey as the winner. The only sound in the room was the clicking of cameras, most of which were trained on Simonds.

Many state workers and staffers who work for Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe quickly left the room disappointed and Simonds addressed the media.

"This is a sad conclusion for me," she said.

She did not rule out asking for a recount, however, saying her options were still on the table.

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