Jan 5, 2023 - Politics

Flashback: When Virginia's House fell into chaos

Then-House Clerk Bruce Jamerson’s big gavel didn’t do much to maintain order. Photo: Courtesy Library of Virginia

As House Republicans in Washington, D.C., fight over who should lead the chamber, it's worth taking a moment to remember the time the Virginia Capitol fell into chaos amid a leadership fight.

Flashback: There was jeering, shouting and pounding on desks in the House of Delegates.

  • It was 1998, and Democrats still dominated in Virginia. But Republicans had made big gains, putting them on the cusp of controlling half the House seats — if only Democrats would agree to seat three new GOP delegates before the vote for speaker.
  • That's all per a Washington Post story from the time, shared this week by present-day political reporter Michael Pope at WVTF.

The loud play for power, which you can relive right now on YouTube courtesy of the Library of Virginia, didn't work, and after a five-hour standoff, Democrats re-elected their speaker.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to show that Michael Pope works at WVTF, not WVCE.

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