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Larry Sabato's Hairpiece

Jeff Frederick: Truly the very best Republican Chairman that Democrats have ever had. It wouldn't shock me if he turns out to be the Kim Philby (there's a reference that should send you kids scurrying to Wikipedia) of Virginia politics. It's hard to conceive that someone could be so incompetent without meaning to be.


I don't get it...why was Northam even considering doing this?


It was a dispute with Yvonne Miller over judges in Norfolk.


"Not much debate today. Session adjourned."

Wow. Outsmarted by an intern and Dick Saslaw.

Well done Del Frederick....


Minutes from Senate:

"On motion of Senator Saslaw, the Senate recessed at 10:48 a.m. to reconvene at 11:56 a.m.

The Senate reconvened at 11:56 a.m.

Motion to stand in recess agreed to (21-Y 19-N)

On motion of Senator Saslaw, the Senate recessed at 12:03 p.m. to reconvene at 1:15 p.m.

The Senate reconvened at 1:15 p.m.

On motion of Senator Saslaw, the Senate recessed at 1:16 p.m. to reconvene at 2:15 p.m.

The Senate reconvened at 2:15 p.m.

Republican committee reports withdrawn"

The Rule of 21


You are wrong about everybody hating Northam. The Caucus still loves him.


Yeah, I am sure they LOVE him for cutting a deal with Republicans and then getting scared and backing down. He will be the must trusted member of the caucus now. (end snark).

anon 3:53 pm

don't speak too soon

Joel McDonald

From what I'm hearing, it doesn't seem that Northam was actually looking to leave the caucus. It's a more specific issue.

I've heard the same as Joel. That Northam was never leaving. So, Ben..good story you broke.


The "First Democrat to be Primaried Award" goes to...

Word is Frederick did NOT screw this up and it was public in GA before he posted. Kaine simply made him offer he coudln't refuse and he changed his mind. Frederick will get blamed though and I can't say I mind.


Saslaw knew of the possibility of Northam not leaving the caucus, but of Northam voting for certain chairmanships to change Partisan hands while still remaining in the Dem Senate Caucus. During today's emergency Dem Caucus meeting, Saslaw brought in our Part Time Governor Kaine to cut the deal with Northam to not vote to change certain Committee Chairmanships. My reports indicate that Yvonne Miller has been way, way out line on several judgship issues and that was mainly the source of consternation within Northam. It appears that it is Yvonne Miller that is actually causing the Dems problems, not Northam. Kaine didn't threaten Northam or else Northam would already be caucuing with the GOP. So a deal was cut with Northam, the Caucus Majority, and Kaine to box in Yvonne Miller on certain issues. That is the best Intel I have....

Reston Libertarian

I love stupid mistakes, they make the day that much more enjoyable. The weirdest thing about this is: What democratic operative noticed J. Fred's twitter, and got the news to D. Saslaw?

A post demanding removal of J. Fred will be posted by LI at tooconservative within 24 hours . . .

Saslaw knew ahead of today, so this NOT happening was NOT as a result of leakage from J-FRED...though I would love for him to take a smack for it, it is not accurate. Saslaw got the jump either a week or more ago.


Rumors of this had gone around for a while, but it was Frederick's tweet that alerted Saslaw that it was happening today.

Look at the minutes above. Republicans thought this was so done, they had filed new committee reports, with an additional GOP member on every committee. They had to withdraw it.


Saslaw chose today to act because he knew it was going to go down today. Saslaw had advance knowledge of the act, a few weeks advance notice at that.


OK Jeff. Thanks.

Here's what others think:



What offer did Northam get that he couldn't refuse????

The whole thing arose out of judgeships and the management of a couple of committees. Northam's concerns have been resolved.

The Rule of 21

The comments blaming Yvonne are way out of line and just shows ignornce on the part of those commenting. There is peace in thee Caucus. I am sure its fun for you all to gossip. But you have no clue as to what you are talking about


This whole thing is still odd to me. Random sources on here claim that judgeship issues created this conflict? However, it has to be more than that. I have never heard of any public friction between Northam and and Y. Miller. What is so contentious that has created this so-called conflict? The vague (and anonymous) insinuations by some of the posters on here are a bit annoying.

The Rule of 21

And by the way for those of you who are guessing about a rule change or a change in committee member ship..that calls for a rule change which takes 2/3rds...

For the love of God, will someone explain WHAT THE DAMN ISSUE is/was? It's about judges; ok, so what? Where's the beef? For Northam to threaten the nuclear option (to borrow a term), we the people want to know WHY he was threatening it!

Norfolk Calling

Do not throw Yvonne under the bus. She is a woman of integrity. No problems with her from anyone in the Caucus.


so why is Saslaw encouraging his boy Deeds to run for Gov when he has this tenuous a hold on his majority?


so why is Saslaw encouraging Deeds to run for Gov when he has this tenuous a hold on his majority?


and if Frederick supposedly knew the deal was over, why say anything about this publicly at all?

the whole thing is weird


Bottom line is this info was released to the House side to make public far before Frederick released it.

The Republican leadership from the Senate side told M Griffith that this info was to be pushed.

NLarrySabato once again prematurely blogs a "gotcha" BREAKING NEWS moment that holds no weight.


so, Brad, you're saying the chair of the RPV had no role in negotiating a defection of a Senate Democrat?

He was completely out of the loop and this info was determined "to be pushed" by whom, exactly?

As usual, Ben Tribbett is incorrect. Senate Rule 18 requires that the Senate appoint committees at the beginning of each session (i.e., every 4 years), and that a member of a committee stays on that committee for his 4-year term. (Rule 20(b) covers filling vacancies.) Under Rule 20(a), no member can be removed from a committee except by two-thirds vote. Alternatively, a Senator can forfeit his committee assignments by switch parties, after a two-thirds vote.

So Senator Northam could not have affected the composition of the committees because the members would have to stay the same. The only thing he could have affected is the order of precedence among the members, i.e., the chairmanship of the committees.


ROFL. Jeff digs his hole bigger.

This is his "macaca".


551- To get around that, the plan the Republicans had was to ADD members to the committees- not taking anyone off.


The House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith got word of possible switch at around 10:30 Reporters new about it by 11. Even the whole Amercians for Prosperity group visiting the capital made a statement at around 11:40 in regards to the possible switch.

So Jeff Fred literally had no impact of the outcome of the defection. He didn't even post his tweet until 12:20. Two hours after the initial announcement.

The Rule of 21


Adding a seat to a committee increases the number of members which is set forth in the Rules...this takes a 2/3rds vote...face it this was never going to happen. You are buying into Republican propaganda

Loudoun Insider

Reston Lib, I think I'll let everyone else ask for Fredrick's resignation this time. He is the Dems gift that keeps giving. I'm surprised they're making such a big deal about it now rather than waiting for him to self destruct closer to November. Getting rid of Frederick now only helps the GOP. Thanks!


"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 underway.

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"


The fact that, whatever the issue was, it was allowed to grow and fester to this point is yet another revelation about the quality of leadership provided by the Majority Leader.

The Rule of 21


Your comments are laughable. Its Morgan Griffith and Bill Howell who cannot get thier agenda enacted (smoking ban, tort deform etc)...The Senate is blue and producing good Democratic legislation

Ghost of Henry Howell

There is no issue with the integrity or quality of the Majority Leader. Without his leadership, there would be no Dem majority in the State Senate and the person in question would not be in Richmond. The R's jumped the gun on this (what else is new?)

This is why we still need the MSM. I will read the post tomorrow and they will have the facts and background instead of all of this guessing and he said she said anon crap

Not Larry Sabato

Thanks for that last comment Tim Craig.

Larry Sabato's Hairpiece

I can't speak to the Senate Finance Committee, but the Senate Courts Committee is a complete and utter circus under the intermittently-coherent chairmanship of Senator Henry Marsh.

I would think if Senator Northam had an issue with Senator Yvonne Miller (and Lord knows he would not be the first member of his own caucus to tire of Buttercup's random bizarre outbursts in Committee without benefit of recognition of the Chair), he would have sought a new Chair in the Senate Transportation Committee, not on Finance and Courts.

Perhaps Senator Northam, who by all accounts is one of the brightest bulbs in the Senate, simply tired of being embarrassed by the inability of Senator Marsh to manage his committee, speak to his committee's bills on the floor, or simply maintain a semblance of lucidity. Perhaps, at 84 or 85, Senator Colgan is having the same problems, but as I mentioned earlier, I am more familiar with the train wreck that is Senate Courts Committee under Senate Marsh.

What is most amazing is that Senators Saslaw and Whipple allow the Greek tragedy that is the Courts Committee to continue, in order to avoid a confrontation with members of their own caucus. That's the kind of real leadership that got Virginia's state government to be named the best in the country a few years back. Rock on, Dick.


Doesn't it only take a simple majority to suspend the rules of the Senate? Who is the guy here looking at the Senate rules..just a thought. Maybe?

Not Huey Long

Jeff Frederick...the gift that keeps on giving. My God, I hope he stays a party leader forever!

NoVA Scout

I suspect that the causes and effects in this entire chain of events are fairly complicated. But it was insanely childish and ill-advised for JF to have been tweeting about this to the world. So much of the R side looks like kids running a club at middle school. Somehow I can't see John Hager of Ed Gillespie behaving similarly.

NoVA Scout

I suspect that the causes and effects in this entire chain of events are fairly complicated. But it was insanely childish and ill-advised for JF to have been tweeting about this to the world. So much of the R side looks like kids running a club at middle school. Somehow I can't see John Hager of Ed Gillespie behaving similarly.

Not Sen. Y. Miller

Senator Yvonne Miller is incoherent and random who is not prepared or able to properly chair a committee. How inept does the Senate leadership have to be to allow Sen. Miller to lead a senate committee.


J-Fred is one of the finest public servants I know.

Under Jeff's leadership, the GOP nominee for governor is currently leading in the polls.

t moans when Democrats gnash their teeth at Statesmen like J-Fred.

Hokie Guru

T, we are happy that Jeff is still the RPV Chair.

Can you provide polls that show Regent University Law School graduate, Bob McDonnell, in the lead? It's not that I don't believe you... I just haven't seen these polls.

What are Whipple and Saslaw supposed to do? The Senate lives and breaths on seniority. They just can't kick Miller and Marsh to the curb without turning their backs on what makes the Senate the Senate.


Ben Tribbett is still wrong. He wrote:
"551- To get around that, the plan the Republicans had was to ADD members to the committees- not taking anyone off.

Posted by: notlarrysabato | February 10, 2009 at 05:54 PM"

Senate Rules 18(b)-18(j) set each committee with 15 members. Every committee has 15 members, except Finance with 16. No committee can have more Republicans unless either (a) they kick someone off a committee (requires 2/3s) or (b) Northam becomes a Republican, giving them 1 more on each of his committees (also requires a 2/3s vote).

Either learn the rules or get a credible source.

The dems in washington are sending our children to the poor house and this is what is important?

explains why we are in the spot we find ourselves.

somebody send the children to bed and let the adults take charge.

Ian J

An actual worthwhile post,Ben.

The possibility of Northam changing parties is enough to get Ben scared "straight."


anon 11:43 if seniority is the only standard why is Mamie Locke a chair but not Roscoe Reynolds?

Its seniority based on years in that committee. Not seniority of years in the Senate. That is why Mamie Locke is chair, she is the longest serving dem who is not chair of another committee


It's seniority on the relevant committee. Senator Locke is chair of General Laws, a committee on which Senator Reynolds does not serve.

After an earlier fubar, Senator Saslaw had agreed to step down and Senator Reynolds was slated to become Democratic Leader.

Larry Sabato's Hairpiece

Seniority IS important, but it is not the be all and end all. In recent years both Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Senate removed senior members from committee chairmanships when they clearly proved to no longer up to the task. Saslaw and Whipple could show the same leadership but doing do would create a schism in their caucus that would put their positions at risk and they have decided to put their own best interests ahead of the caucus, the Senate,and the Commonwealth.

As for seniority and Roscoe Reynolds, I have heard his relationship with Saslaw is poor, but that may only be rumor.

Man I really wish we had a poltical system like Isreal. Its been really fun following this story. Can you imagine five political parties all jockying with each other. Its poltical blogger/junky nirvana.

Pete in Williamsburg

All Northam did was talk to the GOP about it, he ultimately never took any action. He is still in good graces with all and a primary challenge for this is highly, highly unlikely.

Peter Principle

Titanic captain: "Well, the negotiations were tough, but we think we've just persuaded one of the Carpathenia crewmen to jump ship."

Sad Elephant

I'm a lifelong moderate Republican and never really thought of myself as an extreme anything...

...but wow, I am growing EXTREMELY sick of Jeffy and his antics.

He's a great gift to my Democratic friends. I see him as an embarrassment.

The Dems had already threatened Northam into submission before Frederick's post.

Tribbett is, as usual, misinformed and full of shit.

investment costa rica

Democracy is a political form of government where governing power is derived from the people, either by direct referendum (direct democracy) or by means of elected representatives of the people (representative democracy).

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Social media saves senate for democrats.. He-he-he :)

keylogger Mac

It's seniority on the relevant committee. Senator Locke is chair of General Laws, a committee on which Senator Reynolds does not serve.


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