House Speaker Todd Gilbert (left) with House Majority Leader Terry Kilgore and Appropriations Committee Chairman Barry Knight in 2022. Photo by Markus Schmidt.

House Republicans on Sunday elected Speaker Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah County, as their next minority leader when the new General Assembly reconvenes under a Democratic majority in January. 

Gilbert managed to fend off an intra-party challenge from Del. Terry Kilgore, R-Scott County, the current House majority leader who sought the House GOP’s top job after Republicans lost their control of the chamber after last week’s election. 

“I’m honored that my colleagues have once again put their trust in me to lead our Republican team for the coming term,” Gilbert said in a statement. “I look forward to working with our caucus to advance our shared Republican values and serve as a check on the worst far-left policies put forward by the incoming Democratic majority.”

Del. Amanda Batten, R-James City County, was reelected caucus chair, and Del. Michael Webert, R-Fauquier, was reelected Republican whip.

Kilgore was left without a leadership position. He said on Friday that his party’s defeat in the legislature “requires a new kind of leader for a new political reality.” Del. Israel O’Quinn, R-Washington County, the current deputy majority leader, also wasn’t considered for a leadership position in the new legislature.

For Gilbert, it was the second time facing a challenge from Kilgore in his quest for the chamber’s top job. After Republicans flipped the House during the 2021 election, both lawmakers announced their intent to run for speaker. 

The two lawmakers reached an agreement before the matter came before their caucus for a vote by endorsing each other for leadership roles. In a joint statement to the House GOP caucus at the time, Kilgore said that he would support Gilbert’s bid for speaker, and in return, Gilbert backed Kilgore as the new House majority leader.

Gilbert was first elected to represent the 5th House District in 2005. He became majority leader in 2018, when former Del. Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, assumed the speakership. After the 2019 elections, when Democrats won the majority in the House, Gilbert became the minority leader, followed by a two-year stint as the speaker, during which he was in charge of the Rules Committee.

On Saturday, House Democrats, as expected, chose Minority Leader Don Scott of Portsmouth as their candidate for speaker, putting him in line to be Virginia’s first Black Speaker of the House. House Democrats also elected Del. Charniele Herring of Alexandria to be the next House Majority Leader, the same post she held the last time Democrats controlled the House. Del. Kathy Tran of Fairfax County was named caucus chair.

Later this week, both Senate Democrats and Senate Republicans are expected to choose their new leaders.

Markus Schmidt is a reporter for Cardinal News. Reach him at or 804-822-1594.