Huffpost DC

Virginia Senate 20-20 Split: Will Democrats Sue Over GOP Control?

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VIRGINIA REPUBLICANS
Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William Howell, center, with Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, left, and Gov. Robert McDonnell hold a post-election news conference. | AP

WASHINGTON -- Do Republicans have the right to assert full control over the Virginia Senate, which after this month's general elections will have a 20-20 GOP-Democratic split?

Following the concession of Democratic state Sen. Edd Houck in a too-close-to-call race, Republican state leaders proclaimed that the GOP would have full control over the state Senate. The party controls Virginia's governorship in addition to the House of Delegates.

Democrats, as The Washington Post, reports, might end up filing a lawsuit to have the courts sort out what exact powers the GOP has in a 20-20 Senate split. At issue is whether Lt. Bill Bolling (R) can break tie votes in organizing the chamber. Democrats, the Post reports, think Bolling's tie-breaking abilities do "not extend to judgeships, the budget and organizational matters such as committee appointments."

Bolling retorted: "There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I can vote on that issue should it result in a tie vote."

Democrats previously held the Virginia with a narrow 22-18 majority. A power-sharing agreement on Senate governance in Richmond was in place between Democrats and Republicans in the 1990s.