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Republicans Seek More Control in Senate

Anita Kumar

Republicans tried to gain more power in the Democratic-controlled Senate today by attempting to persuade a Democrat to vote with them on a change that would have given Republicans more representation on two key committees.

Republican leaders proposed adding their own co-chairman to the Finance and Courts of Justice committees and adding another Republican senator to Courts of Justice.

If Sen. Ralph S. Northam (D-Norfolk) had voted for the change, the chamber would have split 20 to 20 and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) would have broken the tie in favor of the Republicans.

But instead, the Democrats, who have a 21 to 19 majority in the chamber, immediately went behind closed doors and pressured Northam to vote with them, according to GOP and Democratic sources.

Democratic leaders say Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) was involved in the negotiations, but his spokesman, Gordon Hickey, said he knew nothing about it. When the senators returned to the chamber, Republicans withdrew the vote.

By Anita Kumar  |  February 10, 2009; 11:00 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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