A recount of the votes in the razor thin outcome of the Nov. 7 election in the Tidewater area’s House District 94 has reversed the originally-announced result. Trailing by only 20 votes going into Tuesday’s recount, the Democrat Shelly Simonds prevailed in the recount by a single vote, a result that her Republican counterpart has apparently acknowledged. The result increases the number of delegate seats that switched parties in the November election to 16, resulting in a 50-49 Democrat-Republican margin, with one more contested outcome of a seat with a Republican the declared winner to be decided.
Tuesday’s extraordinary result generated new elation among the Democrats, who held a media conference call late this afternoon where discussions of “power sharing” with the GOP were held. The prospect of a 50-50 tie situation “is an unprecedented in the 400 year history of the Virginia legislature,” said House Democratic leader David Toscano.
A recount in the final contested outcome, in the 28th House District (Fredericksberg, Stafford County) is set for this Thursday, and no matter the result, the Democrats are suing over the fact that 147 voters (in an election with an 82 vote difference) were given the wrong ballots to cast on election day.
Foremost on the Democrats’ legislative priorities in the new situation will be to reverse Virginia’s opposition to the expansion of Medicaid to cover an additional 400,000 residents, something that the Republican controlled legislature had blocked despite losing millions in federal funds daily to cover its cost. Gains in women’s health, education, economic opportunity and gun control are also being contemplated, they said in Tuesday’s media call.