RICHMOND, Va. – A Virginia elections official reached into an artsy stoneware bowl, pulled out a name and declared Republican David Yancey the winner of a House of Delegates race that could determine which political party controls the chamber.

Virginia staged a dramatic, rare election lottery, livestreamed across the country, to settle a tie between Yancey, an incumbent from Newport News, and Democrat Shelly Simonds.

The spectacle drew national attention as an odd way to decide a highly consequential contest. But it might not be the last word in a saga that’s taken more turns than the clay that went into that wheel-thrown bowl, borrowed for the occasion from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts .

Simonds and a collection of state officials and politicos were on hand for the drawing in the West Reading Room of the Patrick Henry Building; Yancey was not.

As the loser of the drawing, Simonds is entitled by law to request a second recount, likely leaving the race in limbo as the General Assembly reconvenes Jan. 10. Yancey is not expected to be seated if a recount is pending.

But even without him, the GOP would still enjoy a 50-49 majority in the House on the first day, when delegates pick a speaker for the next two years.

Republicans boasted a seemingly insurmountable 66-34 majority heading into November elections. But as they swept statewide offices for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, Democrats also picked up at least 15 House seats in a blue wave widely viewed as a rebuke to President Trump.

If Simonds seeks and wins a second recount, or prevails with other potential challenges, the 100-member House would be split right down the middle, ending the GOP’s 18-year majority in Richmond’s lower chamber.

On Election Day, Yancey appeared to beat Simonds by 10 votes in the 94th legislative district. Then a Dec. 19 recount left Simonds ahead by a single vote, prompting Yancey to concede.

The next day, the three-judge recount court decided that a ballot declared ineligible during the recount should be tallied for Yancey, tying the race at 11,608 votes apiece. The voter, whose identity is unknown, filled in bubbles on the paper ballot for Simonds and Yancey but also made a slanted mark across the Simonds bubble. That voter voted Republican in every other office, but also made slash marks across a filled-in bubble for Republican Ed Gillespie in the gubernatorial race.

The court ruled the extra mark was an effort to strike out the vote for Simonds. Republicans agreed. But Democrats, contending the voter’s intent was unclear, said the ballot should have been thrown out.

Simonds asked the recount court to reconsider, but the judges rejected that request on the eve of Thursday’s drawing.

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