De­ci­sion time

Vir­ginia House Democrats to pick new leader.

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - BY GRA­HAM MOOMAW [email protected]­dis­patch.com (804) 649-6839 Twit­ter: @gmoomaw

Democrats in the Vir­ginia House of Del­e­gates will meet in Rich­mond this week­end to se­lect a new leader. But no clear front-run­ner has emerged to suc­ceed cur­rent Mi­nor­ity Leader David Toscano.

Toscano will step aside from lead­er­ship at the end of the year, though he in­tends to seek re-elec­tion to the House next year. The shift will al­low a new Demo­crat to take charge head­ing into a piv­otal elec­tion year.

The new leader will guide party strat­egy for the leg­isla­tive ses­sion that starts Jan. 9 and take the lead on rais­ing money and train­ing can­di­dates for the 2019 House races.

The 49 mem­bers of the House Demo­cratic Cau­cus will be­gin vot­ing around 2 p.m. Satur­day.

Most law­mak­ers have been tight-lipped about the pend­ing vote, which the cau­cus has de­scribed as an in­ter­nal party mat­ter.

With at least five can­di­dates said to be in the run­ning, most of them from North­ern Vir­ginia, it’s not clear how many rounds of vot­ing might oc­cur be­fore some­one reaches a ma­jor­ity.

Repub­li­cans have a 51-49 ma­jor­ity in the House. After flip­ping 15 seats in the 2017 elec­tions, Democrats could take con­trol of the cham­ber next year by adding just a few more.

If Democrats win a ma­jor­ity, they could find them­selves elect­ing a new speaker a year from now. And that might not be the same per­son who comes out on top Satur­day.

Here are the can­di­dates who have con­firmed their in­ter­est in the lead­er­ship job:

Del. Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fair­fax

Filler-Corn, 54, has been in the House since 2010, and she’s fre­quently men­tioned as a pos­si­ble statewide can­di­date. She pre­vi­ously served in the ad­min­is­tra­tions of Demo­cratic Govs. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine.

Del. Charniele Her­ring, D-Alexan­dria

The first African-Amer­i­can woman elected to a North­ern Vir­ginia House seat, Her­ring, 49, is Toscano’s sec­ond-in-com­mand in her cur­rent role as the cau­cus chair. She has served in the House since 2009.

Del. Sam Ra­soul, D-Roanoke

Ra­soul, 37, has emerged as a cau­cus mav­er­ick after serv­ing in the House since 2014. He’s a vo­cal critic of Do­min­ion En­ergy and the At­lantic Coast Pipe­line, and he’s made a con­certed ef­fort to cul­ti­vate re­la­tion­ships among the 2017 fresh­man class. In 2016, he quit a lower post in the cau­cus lead­er­ship, say­ing Democrats need to im­prove their out­reach in ru­ral places like South­west Vir­ginia.

Del. Mar­cus Si­mon, D-Fair­fax

As the cau­cus par­lia­men­tar­ian, Si­mon, 48, is ac­cus­tomed to pro­ce­dural spar­ring with Repub­li­cans on the House floor. A for­mer Army JAG of­fi­cer, Si­mon has served in the House since 2014.

Del. Rip Sul­li­van, D-Fair­fax

Sul­li­van, 59, served as the cau­cus cam­paign chair for the Democrats’ suc­cess­ful 2017 cy­cle, and he has been tapped to reprise that role next year. He has served in the House since 2014.

Filler-Corn

Toscano

Her­ring

Ra­soul

Si­mon

Sul­li­van

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