If you’ve ever questioned the validity of the adage “Every Vote Counts” a recent race in the Virginia House of Representatives proved it. While it might not be this close in every case and the stakes might not always be this high, this time they were. Democrats have been coming down hard, trying to win back races from the Republican majority, and Virgina was the perfect example of just how close and contentious that could get.
It only took a single vote in a single race for a vacant seat in the House of Representatives to change the balance of power from 51-49 split in favor of Republicans to a 50-50 split. The implications of this are staggering, and a great example of why everyone should get out and vote.
What makes this story even more remarkable is that if there had never been a recount, we might never have realized just how close this race was. Because of how close the race was initially a recount was held, and this time the new winner sticks. After the recount, the incumbent Republican conceded the race. Democrat Shelly Shemonds is the new representative.
With a 50/50 split, there is no clear House majority and no legislative way to resolve this, so it is unclear which party will be the House leader and chair committees among other important duties. The only other time this has happened was in 1997 and the two parties did reach a deal, but with so much contention on either side now, it is unclear what will happen.
It is also possible that the majority could shift again, as two other races are still in contention, one with a Democrat winner, which is unlikely to shift because of the wide margin, and another which currently has a Republican winner is currently facing a lawsuit because of inaccurate ballots. No matter what the outcome, the Virginia House Race makes it clear how important it is to stay invested and involved in the Democratic process.