Regaining control of the House of Delegates and not losing a single incumbent in the process made for a pretty good week for House Minority Leader Del. Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah).
Now, he’s hoping to capitalize on that momentum. Although, he’s not the only one.
One day after Del. Terry Kilgore (R-Gate City) announced his bid for the speakership, Gilbert confirmed that he will run for speaker, too.
In a video teleconference with reporters, Gilbert expressed confidence that he could articulate to his Republican colleagues why he’s the best candidate for the job:
“Those things are internal caucus issues and matters, and while I am happy to discuss what I can, that is a different election with a small constituency,” Gilbert said. “I have been making my case to our caucus just as I did two years ago, when we had kind of the same lineup of candidates.” Gilbert added that he feels confident that he has kept his promises “as to how I would lead our caucus forward, and obviously we were successful on Tuesday.”
Republican candidates swept the commonwealth by winning back all three statewide offices, ending an eight-year Democratic reign in Richmond. GOP candidates also flipped seven House seats so far, giving them the upper hand in the chamber with a 52-48 majority. Democrats continue to hold a narrow majority of 21-19 in the state Senate, where no seat was up for reelection this year.
While the counting of absentee ballots continues until Friday, Gilbert said that he is confident that the math will hold. “We certainly don’t see any movement that concerns us,” he said. “I know that (Democrats) are holding on to see if there is any chance of this changing, but we don’t see that there is a path there for these to change significantly enough to affect the outcome of the election.”
Numerous outlets, including CNN, have projected that the GOP will have full control of the House of Delegates.
Gilbert was first elected to represent the 5th House district in 2005. He became House 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.
According to insiders, it seems unlikely that another viable candidate for House of Delegates speaker will emerge.