Earlier this year, Mark Sickles (D-43), the current chair of the Virginia House Democratic Caucus, announced he will step down from that office. No firm date has been announced as to when the choice for his replacement will be made, but it’s likely to be after the upcoming “special” session where Medicaid expansion will be publicly flogged to death debated. So far, two contenders have emerged, Eileen Filler-Corn (D-41) and Scott Surovell (D-44).
Leadership positions in legislative caucuses typically go to members with secure seats, so former Fairfax County Democratic Committee chair Surovell’s bid makes sense on that score (he won his first re-election with a 20% margin over a Republican challenger, and faced only an independent challenger in 2013, winning by over 40%). Filler-Corn’s situation is murkier: she barely made it into the House with a 37-vote win in a 2010 special election (after Dave Marsden ran in an earlier special, to fill a Senate seat previously held by Ken Cuccinelli, who had just been elected to Attorney General). Surprisingly, the Republicans found no challenger to run against her in the following general election, in 2011 (Filler-Corn easily overcame a Libertarian candidate, with a nearly 60% margin of victory). In 2013, she was re-elected against a Republican challenger by 17%.
Both represent Fairfax constituencies, so there will be little regional distinction for delegates to use in making their choice. Surovell is well known as a feisty and energetic politician, who has sought the caucus chair before in a “potential coup” last March (that never actually went anywhere). Filler-Corn is a respected member of the caucus who, at a time when the biggest advantage Democrats have over Republicans (and, by many assessments, the only advantage they have over Republicans) is with women, might well seem the more logical choice.
The process won’t be public, but it will be decided by delegates whose identities are known, so, if your delegate is a member of the Democratic caucus (and you care who wins), this would be the time to contact them.
NoVa state senator Chap Petersen has shepherded HB791 to passage, but without the odious provisions that would have allowed HOAs to impose fines on residents. Petersen was part of the conference committee that reconciled the House and Senate versions of this bill, with the fining power being the point of greatest contention.
Delegate Todd Gilbert says it in the fewest words possible, as former Fairfax County Democratic Committee chair, and now Fairfax Delegate Scott Surovell does it with (some kind of) style on the floor of the General Assembly:
In case you are wondering, Scott is arguing against tax-breaks for film-makers who want to shoot their movies in Virginia. No word yet on whether the hat has sent Scott to Gryffindor or Slytherin.