Del. Mark Sickles Stepping Down as VA House Dem Caucus Chair


    I don’t have a lot more details right now, but I just heard from multiple sources that Del. Mark Sickles is stepping down as Virginia House Democratic Caucus Chair. I also hear that Del. Eileen Filler-Corn is running to replace him. More details when I get them…

    Just a few general thoughts on this. What we need in the Caucus Chair position is someone who can come up with a serious plan to start winning back the 17 or 18 Obama/Kaine House districts currently held by Republicans. Yes, I’m well aware that districts are gerrymandered, that Republicans have had a financial advantage, that it’s really hard, blah blah blah. But sorry, no excuses: we either suck it up and figure out a way to do this, or resign ourselves to being in the minority for a long time to come. No thanks. We also need someone who doesn’t just come up with a plan, but who works 24/7 – hard AND smart – to execute it. To do that, we need someone who can effectively employ all the tools of modern campaigns (social media obviously being one of those, among others), develop a true “farm system” of candidates, work with our candidates to make them as strong as they can be, connect with and motivate the grassroots “ground troops,” etc. Not that any of those things will guarantee victory, but NOT doing those things is an almost certain assurance of defeat.

    UPDATE: Del. Scott Surovell also tells me he’s running for the job.

    • NotACorporation

      I’m glad to see Scott Surovell is running. He was a top recruiter and funder of Democratic candidates across Virginia in 2013 and was basically already doing the job the Caucus Chair was supposed to do.

      Scott is already one of the strongest progressive advocates and would be very effective as caucus chair.

    • mrg.uva

      From everything I heard from candidates and saw in Virginia during the 2013 elections, this job should be Del. Surovell’s until he decides he no longer wants it.  I can’t think of a better person for the job.  I don’t know Filler-Corn, but it’s Scott’s time.

    • NotACorporation

      We also need someone who doesn’t just come up with a plan, but who works 24/7 – hard AND smart – to execute it.

      Then it is good that Surovell is quite literally tireless. I’ve heard those who work with him say he only sleeps 4 hours a night. He is also one of the most innovative and savvy Democrats in the House of Delegates.

    • wolfrunner

      Surovell works hard but is also a self-centered weasel.

    • pontoon

      I worked on a campaign where he called me late one evening.  He was out at 11 pm putting up his own yard signs and talking to me about the campaign on which I was working.  Dedicated guy.  Smart.  Good good choice.

    • AnonymousIsAWoman

      This one is a tough choice because both Scott and Eileen would be excellent.  I am going to put a word in for my delegate, Eileen Filler-Corn.  I’ve known her for years and she is an incredibly hardworking, capable, energetic, and dedicated person.  She’s also smart as a whip.

      She also is upbeat, positive, works well with everybody in the Democratic Party.  I think she would be a very positive, uplifting, and smart choice.

      All that said, whichever one is picked would serve us well.  And Lowell is right.  We absolutely need to start contesting and winning some of these seats.  We are seeing every day how little power we’ve got and how crippled we are despite convincing victories last November.  That has to stop.

    • FreeDem

      I have some strong opinions on this issue and the related questions about the lack of leadership that David Toscano has provided. I’m so disappointed in the leadership of Virginia Democrats that I’ve all but given up in caring about state and local party politics at this point. What I’m looking for is a strong vision of what the Democratic Party stands for and where it is going. That can be connected to candidate recruitment, district targeting, and finally getting around to winning.  

    • Just want to second Karen’s comments above.  As another one of Eileen’s constituents, I want to say that she is tireless in her support for Democrats and liberal and progressive causes.  The political really is personal to her, and her compassion and discipline would be very welcome as Caucus Chair.

      I’d be happy to have Scott Surovell in that position as well, but there is the point that Virginia Democrats have been extremely successful positioning themselves with the meme on the war against women (especially in the House of Delegates.)  No one would be a better spokesperson for that than Delegate Filler-Corn!

      Go Eileen!!!

    • campaignman

      Scott has clearly earned this job but Eileen should be able to play a role if she is willing.

      This is a big task and Democrats would do well to consider creating a Deputy or Co-Chair position to benefit from both their talents and highlight our commitment to women and women candidates.