UPDATE: Virginia election officials to pick House winner Jan. 4
RICHMOND, VA (AP) -
Virginia elections officials have set next Thursday as the day they will pick the winner in a bitterly contested race that could decide the balance of power in the Virginia House of Delegates.
The board announced Friday that it will meet that day to randomly draw the name of the winner in the Newport News-based 94th District, barring any intervention from a recount court.
Democrat Shelly Simonds asked the court to reconsider its decision to declare a tie between her and Republican Del. David Yancey. The court has not indicated what it will do.
The date was set shortly after GOP House Leader Kirk Cox criticized Simonds for causing "politically motivated delays" in settling the hard-fought race.
Cox said that even if the tiebreaker happens before the legislative session begins, a winner cannot be seated if the loser seeks a second recount.
That would leave the Republicans with a 50-49 advantage in the House.
Virginia Republican leaders say Democrats are trying to "litigate their way to victory" in a tied House race that could decide the balance of power in the House of Delegates.
GOP House Leader Kirk Cox told reporters Friday that Democrats have caused "politically motivated delays" in deciding the winner of the 94th District.
Cox made his comments after lawyers for Republican David Yancey urged state elections officials to schedule a random drawing of the winner's name no later than Jan. 9, the day before the legislature reconvenes.
Yancey's lawyers urged a recount court to deny Democrat Shelly Simonds' motion to reconsider its ruling declaring the election a tie.
If Simonds wins, the partisan split will be 50-50. If Yancey wins, Republicans will have a 51-49 majority.
Simonds declined immediate comment.
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