The State Capitol. Photo by Markus Schmidt.
The State Capitol. Photo by Markus Schmidt.

Democrats and Republicans in the state Senate elected their leadership for the new General Assembly on Wednesday.

Sen. Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax, is the new majority leader. He will succeed fellow Northern Virginian Sen. Dick Saslaw, D-Fairfax, who announced in February that he would not seek reelection after serving 48 years in the legislature.

Surovell defeated Sen. Mamie Locke, D-Hampton, in the race for the Democrats’ top job in the chamber. Locke will continue to chair the Senate Democratic caucus. 

Members of the Senate GOP elected Sen. Ryan McDougle, R-Hanover County, as the minority leader and Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Rockingham County, as the Republican caucus chairman. Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Franklin County, was tapped as Republican whip, along with Sen. Bryce Reeves, R-Orange County.

Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears, a Republican, will continue to preside over the Senate after Democrats maintained control of that chamber and won the majority in the House during last week’s elections, meaning Virginia’s trifecta status remains divided. 

In a caucus meeting Sunday, House Democrats nominated Del. Don Scott, D-Portsmouth, the current minority leader, as the first Black speaker in the body’s 404-year history. Del. Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria, the current caucus chair, was named majority leader, and Del. Kathy Tran, D-Fairfax, was elected to fill the vacancy left by Herring.  

Also on Sunday, House Republicans elected Speaker Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah County, as the new minority leader. Gilbert managed to fend off a challenge from Del. Terry Kilgore, R-Scott County, the current majority leader. 

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