Virginia House Democrats vote to impeach their leader

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Democrats in the Virginia House of Representatives voted Wednesday to remove their caucus leader, months after a failed election cycle in which the party lost complete control of state government.

The 48-member caucus voted by secret ballot to unseat Minority Leader Eileen Filler-Corn, who previously served as the first female speaker of the Virginia House of Representatives, according to lawmakers and staff members who spoke to reporters shortly. after the vote.

Members voted against removing caucus chair Charniele Herring, lawmakers said. There was no immediate vote on who would fill Filler-Corn’s position.

The vote on whether to impeach the two women came after a campaign led in part by Del. Don Scott, a lawyer and two-term member of the House of Representatives from Portsmouth. Scott resigned from a caucus leadership position, vice president of outreach, on Sunday and called the election to remove Herring and Filler-Corn. He nominated himself to take on the role of Filler-Corn and nominated two young, progressive members to serve with him.

Scott and delegates Sally Hudson and Dan Helmer, whom he had nominated, declined to comment Wednesday.

Filler-Corn, who served as the House of Delegates’ first woman and first Jewish speaker for two years after Democrats flipped the chamber in 2019, recognized her role immediately. She called leading the caucus “the honor of my life.”

“Our caucus is made up of 48 talented and diverse people and I look forward to working with them to win back the majority,” he said in a statement.

Filler-Corn, who represents part of Fairfax County, was first elected in 2010. A strong fundraiser, she led the Democratic caucus during the national scandal and partisan fight that erupted after the 2019 discovery of a racist photo on the medical examination of former Governor Ralph Northam. yearbook. She helped the party shift control of the House and Senate later that year and became president in 2020.

Herring, who has represented part of the city of Alexandria since 2009 and served as Majority Leader between 2019 and 2021, the first African-American woman to serve in that role, declined to comment after the vote.

Filler-Corn and Herring were elected to office on November 14, less than two weeks after Election Day, when Democrats lost control of the House and Republicans swept all three state offices. Since then, dissent had apparently simmered over the party’s electoral strategy and its losses by narrow margins in several contests.

Wednesday’s vote took place during a caucus meeting that precedes daily plenary sessions. Lawmakers met at noon for a one-day session to consider Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s vetoes and proposed amendments to the legislation.

As the caucus emerged from its closed-door meeting, nearly all members declined to comment. No one offered comment on why Filler-Corn was removed, and caucus staff did not immediately provide a vote count.

When asked about the content of the meeting, Del. Mark Sickles quipped, “It’s not on the internet anywhere?”

Sickles said the caucus did not immediately choose another leader to give all stakeholders time to be considered. He said he hoped the caucus would vote the next time lawmakers return to Richmond.

Scott quickly issued a press release about his candidacy for Democratic leader.

“We need a leader who can win, not just in the House of Representatives, but in elections in every corner of the Commonwealth,” he said in the press release.

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