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Posted at 5:03 PM ET, 12/ 5/2010

House Republicans elect Cox majority leader; Janis majority whip

By Anita Kumar
Anita Kumar

Republicans elected Del. Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) the House of Delegates' new majority leader Sunday afternoon in a closed door caucus meeting.

The outcome was expected. No one challenged Cox who was persuaded by Speaker Bill Howell (R-Stafford) to run for the post to replace Congressman-elect Morgan Griffith.

"We have many challenging years ahead with tight budgets and a need to grow private sector jobs,'' Cox said in a statement. "I look forward to working hard with House Republicans and all of my legislative colleagues to address these challenges and the aspirations of the people of Virginia as the next House majority leader."

Del. Bill Janis (R-Goochland) defeated Del. Kathy Byron (R-Lynchburg) in the race to replace Cox as majority whip.

"After Republicans solidified our House majority when voters and gave us a net gain of six additional seats and now that these caucus elections are behind us, it's time to focus anew on working with Governor McDonnell to govern thoughtfully and creatively on behalf of those we're so honored to serve," Howell said in a statement..

The last time House Republicans had a contested election was in 1999 when Griffith won a three-way race for majority leader against then Dels. Bob McDonnell and Jack Rust. McDonnell had been expected to win, but came in a few votes short -- setting him on a path not for the speakership but instead attorney general and governor.

Republicans now control 61 seats in the House. The General Assembly returns for its 46-day session Jan. 12.

By Anita Kumar  | December 5, 2010; 5:03 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Morgan Griffith, Robert F. McDonnell, William Howell  
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