Republicans Just Won Control of the Virginia House—in a Random Drawing

The GOP finally found a way to win elections in the Trump era.

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

Republicans will hold on to their majority in Virginia’s House of Delegates by the narrowest of margins, 51-49—all because their candidate’s name was drawn from a bowl. The outcome of the Hampton Roads-area 94th district race had seesawed back and forth since Election Day. Incumbent Republican Del. David Yancey was the winner of the first round of vote-counting, prevailing by just 10 votes. But after a recount, Democrat Shelly Simonds pulled ahead by one vote. Then a court ruled that a ballot that had been invalidated because the voter marked both Simonds’ and Yancey’s names should in fact be counted for Yancey, and the race was declared a tie. On Thursday, the state board of elections met in Richmond to settle the matter by drawing lots out of a clay bowl. Yancey won.

The Republican victory, such as it was, will have major ramifications in the Old Dominion, where rejuvenated Democrats held onto the governorship in a landslide and captured 15 House seats that Republicans had controlled in the last session. Democrats had hoped that a Simonds victory, which would have meant an evenly split House, would enable them to pass legislation expanding Medicaid in the state—a policy goal that Republican lawmakers have thus far blocked.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest