A Virginia judge denied Democrat Shelly Simonds' request on Wednesday to re-evaluate its decision that the House of Delegates race in November was a tie, meaning the outcome of the race will be determined by a random drawing.
Simonds is unable to appeal the decision and the state Board of Elections will convene on Thursday to select either Simonds or her Republican challenger, incumbent David Yancey, to represent the 94th District.
However, it is possible that even if Simonds wins and the House is evenly split by a 50-50 margin that Republicans would pick a GOP speaker. The candidate who loses the drawing is permitted to request another recount, which would probably not conclude before Jan. 10, when the legislature convenes for the first day of the 2018 General Assembly session.
As a result, neither Simonds or Yancey would be seated, meaning the GOP would have a 50-49 majority when selecting a speaker.
Simonds initially indicated she would not be interested in a recount, should Yancey be announced the winner — but only if Yancey was willing to agree to the same terms by Thursday morning ahead of the drawing.
"I recognize that the people of the 94th District deserve to have representation on Jan. 10, and a second costly recount is not in their interest. I respectfully ask Delegate Yancey to enter into a mutual agreement that the loser of tomorrow’s drawing will not request a second recount, contest the election in the House of Delegates, or pursue any other action challenging the result," Simmonds said in a statement.
Yancey said he would not agree to Simonds' terms.
“I am not going to deny myself or the people of the 94th district due process simply because of the unnecessary delays that have got us to this point,” Yancey said, according to the Washington Post.
If Simonds is selected, the GOP will lose its 18-year majority in the House of Delegates.