State Democrats Plan Senate Control

Jan 28, 2014

The certification of the election of former Delegate Lynwood Lewis to the Virginia Senate ultimately gives Democrats control over that chamber.

Although its partisan split is now 20-20, Democratic Lt. Governor Ralph Northam presides over the Senate, giving his caucus the tie-breaking vote to pass whatever rules it chooses. Today's  order of business was all about Democrats subtly making a statement about control.

The Senate spent most of the day debating about the rules set when the Republicans controlled the chamber. Those rules were thrown out, and GOP Senate Leader Tommy Norment and Democratic Senator Donald McEachin dominated the floor discussion, with Norment essentially asking: "Where do we go from here?"

Senators then proceeded to debate NEW rules that will govern the chamber. When Republican Lt. Governor Bill Bolling first presided over the evenly split Senate, Democrats balked at the notion that it was a GOP-dominated chamber. Now it's come full circle, and until the dust settles, the next few days may be dominated by how committee assignments and other rules are carried out.