House Democrats Line Up for Speaker's Chair

Nov 7, 2019

Now that Democrats have won control of the House of Delegates, they’ll have to figure out who will become the next speaker of the House.

House Democratic Leader Eileen Filler-Corn would be the obvious choice for speaker. But she has competition. Lashrecse Aird of Petersburg, Luke Torian of Prince William County and Ken Plum of Reston.

Eileen Filler-Corn, right, is House Democratic Leader and next in line to be speaker of the House of Delegates. But she has competition, including Delegate Lashrecse Aird of Petersburg, center, seen here talking with Senate Democratic Leader Dick Saslaw on Election Night.
Credit Michael Pope

And even more candidates could jump into the race before Saturday’s closed-door caucus in Richmond.

That means one thing.  “Horse-trading at its best,”  according former Republican Delegate David Ramadan, now at George Mason University. He’s been in the room where it happened for these kind of struggles on the Republican side.

Ramadan says House members are now getting calls asking for their support.  “There may be a pull for having a minority person. The black caucus is a very strong caucus. So it might be a NOVA versus RVA and a minority versus a non-minority candidate in this race.”

Rachel Bitecofer at Christopher Newport University says Filler-Corn is next in line, and these kinds of campaigns for leadership positions are sometimes long-shot candidacies to make a statement.  “By doing so it’s putting the moderate or established wing of the Democratic House caucus on notice that the progressive caucus is there and they are expecting to be recognized and to see action on the issues they care about.”

The caucus meeting is Saturday, when Democrats will emerge with a winner who will be the Speaker designate. But he or she won’t actually be speaker until a floor vote of all 100 members when the General Assembly convenes in January.

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