How will Democrats govern? Race for speaker could be an early test.

How will Democrats govern? Race for speaker could be an early test.
Del. Lashrecse Aird, D-Petersburg, speaks to supporters at a watch party downtown Richmond, Va., November 5, 2019. (Source: Parker Michels-Boyce)

At least four Democrats – including two members of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus – have said they’re in the running to become the next speaker of the House of Delegates, setting up a debate among the newly empowered majority over who should lead their diverse caucus.

After winning what appears to be a 55-seat majority in Tuesday’s elections, House Democrats plan to meet Saturday to elect a speaker-designee, an early test of the party’s ability to reconcile its moderate and progressive wings to form a governing strategy.

In interviews Wednesday, Dels. Lashrecse Aird, D-Petersburg, and Luke Torian, D-Prince William, said they’re interested in the speakership, both of whom would be the first African-American speaker in the House’s 400-year history.

Del. Ken Plum, D-Fairfax, the longest-serving House member, said he’s put himself in the running as a “manager” of the House to tone down partisan bickering.

But all three would have to get past House Minority Leader Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax, who led the caucus during a successful election year and confirmed Wednesday that she’d like the top job come January.

The Virginia Mercury is a new, nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization covering Virginia government and policy.