Democratic State Senators Ralph Northam and John Miller are part of the Virginia “Commonwealth Caucus”, a group of four Senators that look to bipartisan solutions to our state’s most pressing problems. But one of them almost became a Republican today.
Jim Riley broke the news earlier this afternoon that Del. Jeff Frederick was tweeting that there was “big news” potentially coming from the Senate Democratic Caucus
This set off rampant speculation that Northam, or potentially Miller, were switching parties.
Upon getting this word, Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw called an emergency caucus which included some substantial arm twisting of Northam. After the caucus, Northam remains a Democrat.
The appearance is that a “premature” tweet from Frederick is the cause of the Senate not garnering a 20-20 split. And so, not surprisingly, there are calls for Frederick’s head.
But what if Frederick was told to do it?
Sources tell Bearing Drift that HOUSE Majority Leader Morgan Griffith told Frederick to send the message.
If that’s the case, why would Griffith do that?
Did he know that it would cause a backlash in the Senate and lay the blame at Frederick’s feet, effectively killing two birds with one stone – not having to work with Senate Republicans and getting Frederick out of his hair?
The story, as they say, is developing.
Interesting enough, Sen. Mark Obenshain sent out this info on his facebook page at about 4 p.m. this afternoon:
Notwithstanding the fact that today is crossover day – the very busy final day for each chamber to act on its own bills — the session began about 4 hours later than planned. There was almost an outbreak of good government, but that was narrowly averted. Whew! Here’s what happened. There has been bipartisan concern expressed over the leadership and operation of the Senate Finance and Courts Committees. The concern came to a head today. Notwithstanding the fact that there are 19 Republican Senators and 21 Democrats, we began the day with enough Senators to reorganize these two committees – naming as co-chairs of those Committees Senators Wampler and Stolle – both Republicans – effectively forcing bipartisan cooperation in the running of these two critical committees. After 4 hours of meetings behind closed doors and with the Governor, the threat of bipartisanship passed, partisan fever and the status quo prevailed. Although the impasse was abbreviated, it should be noted that it took great courage and principle for someone to stand up to his party’s leadership. Governor Kaine, as Chair of DNC, flexed his muscle today – successfully. It is a sign of the increased partisan power he will bring to the Capitol in his new position – and it has come at the expense of good government.
Update: Looks like Griffith did have something to do with this:
Email from Majority Leader Morgan Griffith
Representatives from the Senate Republican Caucus informed several
members of our House Caucus today about what they characterized as an
imminent power-sharing agreement. In addition, it was indicated to
members of our Caucus, myself included, that this information was
already known and was public.
I suggested to Chairman Frederick that he get the word out, minus the
details. Jeff did not post anything other than an unnamed D was
looking at leaving their caucus and power sharing negotiations were
There is no reason to believe that Delegate Frederick’s posting on
Twitter, which happened several hours into the day’s activities in the
Senate, affected the outcome. Perhaps, it was the visit by the
wavering democrat with the Governor of the Democratic National
Committee. Regardless it is clear that the partisan makeup of the
Virginia Senate is tenuous. Morgan Griffith
So, the question is did Jeff Frederick leak the information out of incompetence or was this a deliberate act by Morgan Griffith?
Below the Beltway
Roanoke Valley Republicans
And, perhaps most interestingly, the Republican State Leadership Committee.