Richmond, Va, 18 November 2011: The Virginia Senate Republican Caucus, which will serve as the majority caucus in the Senate of Virginia when the General Assembly convenes on January 11, 2012, today expressed their disappointment over a news release issued by the Senate Democratic Caucus regarding the organization of the Virginia Senate.
Incoming Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) noted, “Since the elections ended ten days ago, I find it disappointing that now the leaders of the Senate Democratic Caucus have decided to argue over the results.
“As Senator Saslaw is certainly aware, Republicans earned the right to serve in the majority by virtue of the 2011 elections for the Senate of Virginia and the 2009 election for Lieutenant Governor. These matters were discussed thoroughly in 1995 and 1996, and the Lieutenant Governor does have the right to vote for purposes of organization. Moreover, Senator Saslaw’s contention that ‘half the state voted for Democrats’ is just wrong. According to the State Board of Elections, 768,545 Virginians voted for Republican candidates for Senate, while only 535,087 voted for Democrat candidates.”
“Judging from their release, Senate Democrats have again placed partisan posturing above the interests of the people of Virginia,” remarked Senator Ryan T. McDougle (R-Hanover), Chairman of the Senate Republican Caucus. “As was the case with their partisan redistricting plan for the Senate and their obstructionist posturing to prevent the adoption of a Congressional Redistricting Plan, they have demonstrated they put a premium on advancing their party above all else. I hope the Democrats will rethink this latest maneuver, and join us in working with Governor McDonnell to enact an agenda to reinvigorate our economy and create jobs.”
“The Constitution of Virginia clearly provides that the Lieutenant Governor, in his capacity as President of the Senate, can cast the tie breaking vote on matters resulting in an equal division, and there is nothing in the Constitution of Virginia that prohibits the Lieutenant Governor from voting on organizational issues,” noted Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling. “While the Constitution does provide that the Senate and House Delegates shall ‘select its officers and settle its procedures’, this language does not prevent the Lieutenant Governor from voting on such matters in the event of a tie vote. Should such issues come before the Senate and result in a tie vote, I will not hesitate to exercise my constitutional duty and cast the tie breaking vote on such issues.”