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What's next for the Democratic caucus in the House of Delegates?

Del. Don Scott, Jr.
Steve Helber
Virginia Del. Don Scott, Jr., applauds visitors on the floor of the Virginia House of Delegates at the Capitol, Wednesday, April 27, 2022, in Richmond, Va. Scott's challenge to oust minority leader Del. Eileen Filler-Corn succeeded, but Demorats didn't pick a new leader.

Democrats in Virginia's House of Delegates are currently without a leader, leaving open a question about how the divided caucus will forge a path forward.

Virginia's House Democrats are in a very awkward position right now. They've dumped former Leader Eileen Filler-Corn after losing the majority last year. But they also failed to elect a new leader. Democratic strategist Ben Tribbett says one of the leaders of the coup, Delegate Don Scott, might be able to secure enough votes to become the next minority leader.

"If I was going to guess, I would say Don Scott has a pretty good chance because if he was able to put together 25 votes to oust the current leader, you've got to figure he has the inside track on those votes to become the next leader," Tribbett explains.

Then again, Scott was not elected leader when Filler-Corn was ousted. That's why Quentin Kidd at Christopher Newport University says she might be able to make a comeback.

"If it's clear to the entire caucus that there is not another person that can get a majority of votes, some of those votes that voted against her a couple of days ago could come back and say, 'Look, we'll put you back in until we can find somebody else who can organize the caucus around them,'" Kidd says. "And so this may not be the last we've seen of Leader Filler-Corn."

Lawmakers will return to Richmond before July to finish their work on the budget, and that's the next opportunity they'll have to vote for someone to lead their badly-fractured caucus.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria. He has reported for NPR, the New York Daily News and the Alexandria Gazette Packet. He has a master's degree in American Studies from Florida State University, and he is a former adjunct professor at Tallahassee Community College. He is the author of four books.