2018 Model General Assembly forum

Bishop O’Connell High School senior Thomas Dannenfelser, who will serve as governor of the 2019 Virginia Model General Assembly program, introduced Del. Rip Sullivan (D-48th) during a pre-session workshop on Dec. 7, 2018.

Del. Rip Sullivan will be one of a trio of Northern Virginia legislators to lead Democrats in the House of Delegates for the 2020 session.

Sullivan (D-48th) was elected Nov. 9 to serve as caucus chair, the third-ranking position in the hierarchy of the House Democratic Caucus.

Sullivan will work with Dels. Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax County) and Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria) to lead the 55-member caucus that will mark the first time in more than two decades Democrats have held the House of Delegates.

Filler-Corn will serve as House Speaker and Herring will serve as Majority Leader. They move up from majority leader and caucus chair, respectively.

Sullivan, an attorney, came into office via a special election in 2014 to succeed Bob Brink, who resigned to take a position in the McAuliffe administration. The 48th District includes portions of Arlington and McLean.

In 2017, Sullivan was put in charge of Democratic efforts to win control of the House of Delegates, which at the time had a 66-34 Republican majority.

“We’re headed to 51 – we’ve got real potential,” Sullivan said that year, although few expected Democrats to win control that year.

But fueled by a party united following the election of Donald Trump, Democrats scored surprising levels of success in the 2017 House elections, narrowing the gap to 51-49 – with one of those seats going to Republicans after a drawing following a tie vote at the polls.

Sullivan continued to serve as campaign chair for the 2019 election cycle, which saw Democrats win 55 of 100 seats to gain an outright majority for the first time since 1998.

The House of Delegates descends from Virginia’s House of Burgesses, a 22-member body that first convened in 1619 in Jamestown.

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