Key points from the Virginia House Democrats’ press call (see audio below), which ended a few minutes ago, include:
1. “Republicans, and Republicans alone, including Delegate David Yancey, are responsible for the delays that have happened up to this point in terms of getting a delegate seated in HD-94. House Republicans issued a press release on December 19 conceding this election, and we thought it was over then, [but] Delegate Yancey pulled a stunt in court the next day, which turned out to be successful, and we’re not left in a situation where we’re facing a random drawing, game of chance tomorrow.”
2. House Democrats disagree with the court’s ruling today.
3. Shelly Simonds offered Del. Yancey a “mutual agreement that the loser would accept the results of the game of chance tomorrow and not pursue any further recourse…he declined, and not only did he decline, but he suggested that we were somehow willing to unilaterally disarm if Shelly wins the coin toss tomorrow and they refuse to seat her, which we will not do…”
4. Simonds is concerned about HD-94 not being represented on January 10 “as the House of Delegates does the important work of setting its rules…choosing the Speaker”
5. Simonds says “all options are open right now; if I lose the coin toss, we still have a lot of options in front of us, and I’m not prepared to give up.”
6. Clearly, Republicans are planning to “refuse to seat Shelly Simonds if she wins this coin toss tomorrow, which we find tremendously both disappointing and disingenuous.”
7. It’s not clear what Democrats’ legal options might be; Shelly Simonds said “honestly, we’re taking it one day at a time…we’re really focused on the coin toss tomorrow, and then…we will explore other legal options.”
8. Asked by John Fredericks whether Democrats feel their strategy was a smart one or not, Shelly Simonds said she felt very confident about filing the motion for reconsideration, “because there were so many problems with the decision the court made…violations of state law…I felt like we had to lay out those arguments before the court…” Simonds added that “this is bigger than just this election; this also sets precedent for recounts in the future…also…I won the recount, so it seemed wrong to me to go right into a coin toss and not at least give it a shot with the judicial system.”
9. Katie Baker of the House Democratic Caucus said “we stand by Shelly’s decision to file that motion to reconsider; we do disagree with the court and believe that she was the rightful winner after that recount…This is much greater than about manipulating chess pieces to determine who can hold the gavel on January 10. We care about what the rightful result of that election was.”
10. Katie Baker added, “I’m getting the impression that Republicans are spinning this like they somehow outmaneuvered us for the Speakership, like they’re winning the game of chess, and I think that really speaks to how out of touch they are and just the lack of humility after losing at least 15 seats after this wave election; they’re not in touch with what the people of Virginia care about…This was about us fighting for what we believe the rightful result was in HD-94.”
11. It’s not clear whether the loser of the coin toss tomorrow has the right to seek a second recount.