Democrat wins by 1 vote in Virginia legislative election recount

Dec 19 (Reuters) - Virginia Democrat Shelly Simonds won a seat in the House of Delegates by one vote, changing the power balance in the state legislature and extending a tide of Democratic victories beginning with November's capture of the governorship and several legislative seats.

Simonds beat incumbent David Yancy in a recount held Tuesday, both parties said in statements released after the unofficial vote recount was completed by officials in Newport News.

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"Never, ever forget how very much your vote counts," House of Delegates member David Toscano said on Twitter, one of many Democrats rejoicing that a single vote handed them the seat.

"I want to thank the voters who came out on Nov. 7," Simonds said in a news release. "It wouldn't have happened without their participation."

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RICHMOND, VA - JANUARY 04: Virginia House of Delegates candidate Shelly Simonds (R) (D-VA), accompanied by her daughter Georgia Danehy (L) and husband Paul Danehy (R) attends a meeting of the Virginia State Board of Elections January 4, 2018 in Richmond, Virginia. Simonds and Republican candidate Del. David Yancey (R-VA) were locked in a tied race that was decided by pulling a name from a bowl with the two candidates names inside the bowl. Yancey's name was pulled from the bowl and Republicans retained control of the Virginia House of Delegates, though an additional recount in the race is still possible. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
RICHMOND, VA - JANUARY 04: Slips of paper with the names of Virginia House of Delegates candidates Shelly Simonds (D-VA) and David Yancey (R-VA) are shown during a meeting of the Virginia State Board of Elections January 4, 2018 in Richmond, Virginia. The slips of paper were later placed inside old film cannisters and drawn from a bowl to decide a tied race between the two candidates. Yancey's name was pulled from the bowl and Republicans retained control of the Virginia House of Delegates, though an additional recount in the race is still possible. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
RICHMOND, VA - JANUARY 04: Slips of paper with the names of Virginia House of Delegates candidates Shelly Simonds (D-VA) and David Yancy (R-VA) are drawn from a bowl during a meeting of the Virginia State Board of Elections January 4, 2018 in Richmond, Virginia. The slips of paper were placed inside old film cannisters and drawn from the bowl to decide a tied race between the two candidates. Yancey's name was pulled from the bowl and Republicans retained control of the Virginia House of Delegates, though an additional recount in the race is still possible. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
RICHMOND, VA - JANUARY 04: Virginia House of Delegates candidate Shelly Simonds (R) (D-VA), accompanied by her daughter Georgia Danehy (L) attends a meeting of the Virginia State Board of Elections January 4, 2018 in Richmond, Virginia. Simonds and Republican candidate Del. David Yancey (R-VA) were locked in a tied race that was decided by pulling a name from a bowl with the two candidates names inside the bowl. Yancey's name was pulled from the bowl and Republicans retained control of the Virginia House of Delegates, though an additional recount in the race is still possible. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
RICHMOND, VA - JANUARY 04: Virginia House of Delegates candidate Shelly Simonds (D-VA) speaks to members of the press following a meeting of the Virginia State Board of Elections January 4, 2018 in Richmond, Virginia. Simonds and Republican candidate Del. David Yancey (R-VA) were locked in a tied race that was decided by pulling a name from a bowl with the two candidates names inside the bowl. Yancey's name was pulled from the bowl and Republicans retained control of the Virginia House of Delegates, though an additional recount in the race is still possible. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
RICHMOND, VA - JANUARY 04: Virginia House of Delegates candidate Shelly Simonds (2nd L) (D-VA), accompanied by her daughter Georgia Danehy (C) and her husband Paul Danehy (R), leaves a meeting of the Virginia State Board of Elections January 4, 2018 in Richmond, Virginia. Simonds and Republican candidate Del. David Yancey (R-VA) were locked in a tied race that was decided by pulling a name from a bowl with the two candidates names inside the bowl. Yancey's name was pulled from the bowl and Republicans retained control of the Virginia House of Delegates, though an additional recount in the race is still possible. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
NEWPORT NEWS, VA - November 28: Republican David Yancey and Democrat Shelly Simonds attend a 'take your legislator to school day' Tuesday, November 28 at Heritage High School in Newport News, Va. Yancey leads Simonds by ten votes in the 94th District in the Virginia House of Delegates race. (Photo by Julia Rendleman for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
NEWPORT NEWS, VA - November 28: Democrat Shelly Simonds walks out on the pier at Riverview Farm Park Tuesday, November 28 in Newport News, Va. Expanding the park to the James River and preventing development in the area was a central campaign issue for Simonds. Republican David Yancey leads Simonds by ten votes in the 94th District in the Virginia House of Delegates race. (Photo by Julia Rendleman for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
NEWPORT NEWS, VA - November 28: Democrat Shelly Simonds talks to her former student, Aaron Greco, 17, during a 'take your legislator to school day' Tuesday, November 28 at Heritage High School in Newport News, Va. Republican David Yancey leads Simonds by ten votes in the 94th District in the Virginia House of Delegates race. (Photo by Julia Rendleman for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
NEWPORT NEWS, VA - November 28: Democrat Shelly Simonds talks to Cindy Li and Zhi Chao Lin at the Asian Grill next to her former campaign headquarters Tuesday, November 28 at Heritage High School in Newport News, Va. Republican David Yancey leads Simonds by ten votes in the 94th District in the Virginia House of Delegates race. (Photo by Julia Rendleman for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
NEWPORT NEWS, VA - November 28: Republican David Yancey and Democrat Shelly Simonds attend a 'take your legislator to school day' Tuesday, November 28 at Heritage High School in Newport News, Va. Yancey leads Simonds by ten votes in the 94th District in the Virginia House of Delegates race. (Photo by Julia Rendleman for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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Republican leaders in the House of Delegates welcomed Simonds and thanked Yancy for his service, but the chairman of the state party vowed to fight on.

"Today, our opponents carried the day," Republican Party of Virginia Chairman John Whitbeck said in a statement emailed to Reuters. "Tomorrow, we begin again."

Simonds' election, which still must be affirmed by a panel of three judges, means that the 100-member House of Delegates will have an equal number of Democrats and Republicans. That could lead to more moderate policies by forcing the parties to share power.

Before the Nov. 7 general election, Republicans held 66 seats to Democrats' 34, along with a majority in the state senate, according to the election information website Ballotpedia. The GOP still holds a slim margin in the senate.

Also on Nov. 7, the state elected Democrat Ralph Northam in a bitter race for governor, dealing a setback to President Donald Trump with a decisive victory over a Republican who had adopted some of the president’s combative tactics and issues.

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ALEXANDRIA, VA - May 21: Democratic candidate for Governor of Virginia, Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam takes part in a candidate forum put on by Americans for Responsible Solutions at the Hilton Alexandria Old Town on Sunday May 21, 2017 in Alexandria, VA. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Former U.S. President Barack Obama campaigns in support of Virginia Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam, Democratic candidate for governor, at a rally with supporters in Richmond, Virginia, U.S. October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Virginia Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam, who is campaigning to be elected as the state's governor, and his wife Pam, cast their ballots at the East Ocean View Community Center in Norfolk, Virginia, U.S. November 7, 2017. REUTERS/Julia Rendleman
FAIRFAX, VA - APRIL 29: Tom Perriello, left, shakes hands with Ralph Northam at the start of the event. Virginia Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates, Ralph Northam and Tom Perriello held their first debate on Saturday, April 29, 2017 at Lanier Middle School in Fairfax, VA. (Photo by Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, VA - MARCH 08: Virginia Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam visits Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to visit with airport workers on Wednesday March 08, 2017 in Arlington, VA. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 25: Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, left, and Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, cheer on the floor of the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pa., on the first day of the Democratic National Convention, July 25, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Ralph Northam (R) is sworn in as Virginia's lieutenant governor by retired Judge Glen Tyler in Richmond, Virginia, January 11, 2014. The ceremony marks the first time in a quarter century that Democrats will hold all three of the state's top elective posts: governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. REUTERS/Mike Theiler (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
FALLS CHURCH, VA - OCTOBER 19: Hillary Rodham Clinton, center right in red, stands with the Democratic ticket as she endorses Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, far right, at a Women for Terry rallyon October, 19, 2013 in Falls Church, VA. Pictured from left, Sen Mark Herring, Sen. Ralph Northam, Clinton, and McAuliffe. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 25: Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, left, and Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, take a selfie on the floor of the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pa., on the first day of the Democratic National Convention, July 25, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
ARLINGTON, VA - MAY 2: Ralph Northam greets supporters in front of the venue as progressive and labor groups from across the Commonwealth host a forum for him and fellow candidate Tom Perriello to discuss Virginia's 2017 Governor's race on May, 02, 2017 in Arlington, VA. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Virginia Democratic governor-elect Terry McAuliffe (R) celebrates with lieutenant governor-elect Ralph Northam (L) at their election night victory rally in Tyson's Corner, Virginia November 5, 2013. McAuliffe defeated Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli in today's governor's election in Virginia. REUTERS/Gary Cameron (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)
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Democrats also picked up a hotly contested Senate seat in Alabama this month, after Democrat Doug Jones narrowly defeated Republican Roy Moore in a special election to replace former Senator Jeff Sessions, now President Trump's Attorney General. Democratic Party activists hope their candidates can ride to victories in the 2018 Congressional elections on a wave of voter disenchantment with Trump and his Republicans. Four legislative races, including the Simonds-Yancy battle in the 94th District, were slated for recounts.

Going into the 94th District recount, Yancy was ahead by just 10 votes. On Tuesday, that changed, and Simonds clinched with a margin of one. (Reporting by Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, California; Editing by David Gregorio)

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