Truth Tracker: Fact checking ads for 94th Va. House race, last decided by drawing name from bowl

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — If any two candidates have the right to tell you “don’t forget to vote because every vote counts,” it’s those running in the 94th House of Delegates race.

They are incumbent Republican David Yancey and Democratic challenger Shelly Simonds, and in 2017, each received 11,608 votes.

That was after recounts, and they had to draw the winner out of a bowl in an old film canister.

Yancey was the winner, and he’s facing his political nemesis in a redrawn district that favors Simonds.

She’s won the favor of the political world and has almost two times more cash on hand than Yancey. As of September 30, Simonds had $414,922 cash on hand and Yancey had $239,052.

Simonds is the only one with a TV commercial.

In the ad Simonds states, “Yancey would pull the plug on health care.”

What does Yancey say to that? “No, not at all,” Yancey said.

Our Truth Tracker finds it is false to suggest that blanket statement on Delegate David Yancey’s health care policy. It is so broad and there are many bills Yancey supports for health care.  

He told us he’s really proud of putting forth a bill supporting proton therapy at Hampton University. “My bill got this non-invasive cancer therapy supported by the insurance companies.”

Simonds’ ad claims Yancey “voted four times against coverage for 400,000 Virginians.”

That claim is true. Yancey like other General Assembly Republicans voted against Medicaid expansion.  

“Think of all the people who didn’t qualify for health care that needed health care over those years that Republicans refused to approve it,” Simonds said. “People were waiting for health care that didn’t get it because of his votes.”

What the ad doesn’t tell you, nor does Simonds, is that Republicans voted against Medicaid expansion under former Governor Terry McAuliffe only because they thought safeguards were not in place to financially protect Virginia.

“We are a balanced budget state, and we have to make sure the money that comes in and then goes out is appropriated accordingly … money that we need for education, need for health care, and all the other responsibilities in the state of Virginia has to be paid for,” Yancey said.

What is also true and not mentioned in Simonds’ ad is that Republicans including Yancey voted to expand Medicaid when Governor Ralph Northam agreed to roll back Medicaid if federal funding falls short. 

“We want to make certain there was a responsible way forward to be able to pay for the Medicaid expansion in Virginia, and working with Governor Northam we could find a path forward.”

Simonds disagrees, “I think it was a good deal all along. It would have saved Virginia hundreds of thousands of dollars every year to expand Medicaid, and I think we really lost out to other states who were receiving our federal tax dollars for their Medicaid expansion.”

Yancey blasts Simonds, who is a Newport News School Board member, that she “didn’t advocate for a raise for Newport News teachers.”

10 On Your Side asked her about the direct mail piece that went to homes in the district.

A visibly upset Simonds responded, “He is not telling the truth.”  

The Truth Tracker finds it to be false for Yancey to suggest Simonds doesn’t support pay raises for teachers.

On the back of the direct mail it reads, “Think our teachers deserve a raise? Shelly Simonds doesn’t.”

Simonds slaps her hand and says, “Every single budget, I have voted for teacher pay raises.”

10 On Your Side confronted Yancey about the claim that she says what he sent out is false.  

He responded, “I’m glad she supports it, and I wish she would have gone down there and spoke with me in support of teachers.”

Yancey is referring to a May 14 meeting that 10 On Your Side attended, and it is true that Yancey spoke before Newport News City Council advocating to give teachers a pay raise.

He claims since Simonds did not speak, she did not advocate for the raise.

We raised the possibility to Yancey that maybe she didn’t talk, but she helped pass the budget that got them the raise.

Yancey responded, “I also helped pass the state budget that got them the raise, but I went down there and stood up for the teachers.”  

We asked Simonds why she didn’t speak before the council. “But I didn’t need to stand up because the budget spoke for me. I had already voted for the teacher pay raise, and our budget was being presented at that budget council meeting.”

Here’s the full text of Simonds’ ad:

“Look inside David Yancey and it is clear he is just another Richmond politician whose priorities don’t protect Virginia families. Yancey would pull the plug on health care. He voted four times against coverage for 400,000 Virginians and then voted for insurance companies against people with pre-existing conditions. On November 5 vote for Shelly Simonds to change Richmond. She will force big insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions, and make health care more affordable. I’m Shelly Simonds, candidate for Delegate, and I sponsored this ad.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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