by Dick Hall-Sizemore
Del. Don Scott (D-Portsmouth), the current Minority Leader in the House of Delegates, seems to be on a smooth glide path to making history by being elected Speaker when the General Assembly convenes in January. The fate of the current Speaker, Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah), is less certain.
One might logically expect a Speaker to maintain leadership of his party caucus after it moved from the majority to minority. But it seems that some members are unhappy, and that Del. Terry Kilgore (R-Scott), the current Majority Leader, is campaigning to be the Republican floor leader in the next Session, rather than Gilbert. The Virginia Political Newsletter reports that the unhappiness of some members stems from feeling that “the talking point of a new 15-week restriction was forced upon them by House leadership and Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s PAC, Spirit of Virginia.” One Republican delegate told the newsletter, on the condition of anonymity, “Many of us understood that the messaging and focus on the abortion issue was wrong from the start, and would hurt Republicans, especially in competitive districts.”
It is not uncommon for legislators to rebel against their leadership when their party loses its majority status. In fact, Scott owes his current position to a coup he led two years ago against then-Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax) after the Democrats were toppled from the majority.