A critical Virginia election that came down to a game of chance

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By Shelly Simonds

(Simonds is not a staff writer with R2D, this is a guest editorial.)

It was one year ago that the world was watching my tied election which would decide the balance of power in the Virginia House of Delegates. The fate of the state government would come down to a drawing from a ceramic bowl. 

It feels like yesterday but it was last January when I sat with my family, watching the Drawing of Lots in Richmond.  Incredibly, my opponent chose not to show up.  So the hundreds of cameras in the room were focused on us.  I knew I had no control over whose name was chosen out of that bowl.  I could only control the message and what I said and how I composed myself.  When my name was not drawn I had to think quickly about what to say to the media that might make a difference for my community.  So after the drawing, when they handed me the microphone I was determined to stay strong and talk about what really mattered: Medicaid expansion in Virginia.  I am proud of keeping the pressure on Republicans to do the right thing for thousands of Virginians in need of basic medical care.  In retrospect, I believe that our infamous recount and drawing played a part in bringing Medicaid expansion to Virginia.  

But I’m not giving up on making positive change and I hope to have your support as I run again this year.  I have already

Over the last year I have had the opportunity to remind voters of my story and how every LAST vote counts in an election.  Your vote, your grandchild’s vote, could be the one vote that decides an election, that keeps dangerous weapons out of schools, that raises the minimum wage.  These are issues that were decided by one vote last year in Virginia.  

The results of last year’s election are not permanent if you help me win next time and in so doing help Democrats take control of the Virginia House.  We have the power to rewrite the ending of this story.  

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