Marcus Simon, Falls Church’s representative in the Virginia House of Delegates, may become the new minority leader of his fellow Democrats there when the matter comes to a vote of his colleagues later this month.
Simon, 51, who was first elected in 2014 as the state delegate from the 53rd district that covers the City of Falls Church, is one of the only names being put forward to replace Del. Eileen Filler-Corn as his party’s leader in the House.
Filler-Corn was ousted from her role by a secret ballot vote of her colleagues last week. She was removed because her party lost the majority in the House in the last election last November, and some of her outspoken critics blamed her for failing to devote a sufficient amount of her party’s resources to their candidates and failing to consult with enough of her colleagues in making such decisions.
Simon told the News-Press this week that he did not favor that outcome, but that a number of his colleagues approached him about taking over the job because of his high profile in Richmond owing to the prominent role he has played with floor management issues in recent years.
If he accepts his election when the Richmond legislature is reconvened later this month primarily to hammer out unresolved budget issues with the governor, Simon will foreclose at least temporarily on his aspirations to seek election to the state senate next year. He instead would go for reelection to a fifth term as delegate from the 53rd district.
With last year’s redistricting of all state senate and delegate boundaries, Simon has found himself in the same district, covering Falls Church, as current State Sen. Chap Peterson, a Fairfax City-based legislator who is considered by many to be too moderate on a number of issues than Falls Church voters have become used to with Simon, and before him the late Jim Scott, at the helm of their district.
But Simon told the News-Press that if he is elected House Minority Leader, there will remain “plenty” of other prospective candidates from the more immediate Falls Church area who will seek to challenge Peterson.
That seat will become the one representing Falls Church with next year’s election as current F.C. Senator Dick Saslaw, who turned 82 this February, is expected not to seek another term. Saslaw has served in the state legislature since 1976, and his newly configured district, running a little to the south and west of Falls Church, also includes State Sen. Dave Marsden.
Simon told the News-Press this week that his primary goal, were he to become the House Minority Leader, would be to turn his party from the minority back into the majority party. His task will be “to bring his party together” because it is considered “very divided now.”
In a text issued this Monday, Simon confirmed his interest in seeking the post, adding, “Everyone knows we need a united caucus for potential special elections and the 2023 general, and that’s a big part of the conversations I’m having with members. A leader can’t lead on a knife’s edge. Some of my colleagues think I can bring the caucus together and I’m honored by that, but whoever it is needs to know they have the full support of the caucus.”
Another who’s reportedly mulling a run for the job is Arlington delegate Rip Sullivan, who like Simon was a Filler-Corn ally.