Rather than voting on a resolution that encouraged support for Israel from the Commonwealth of Virginia, a group of Democrats in the state’s House of Delegates instead chose to leave the chamber for the vote.
The resolution presented by Republican Del. Brenda Pogge stated that a "cordial and mutually beneficial relationship” between Virginia and Israel should be encouraged, and also laid out the case for “Israel's legal, historical, moral, and God-given right of 55 self-governance and self-defense throughout the entirety of its land.”
The resolution passed by a wide margin of 70-2, with a large number of Democrat members choosing to sit out from the vote by leaving the chamber. The two votes against the resolution came from Democrats Vivian Watts and Scott Surovell.
Video of the vote shows that Republicans called for another vote on the resolution once the members returned to their seats.
“Having voted on the prevailing side of the [resolution] of which we just voted, I move for another vote now that about 20 members are back in their seats over here,” said Del. Jackson Miller, a Republican from Manassas.
Shortly after his call for another vote, they all left again.
“Oh, that’s alright, the 20 members are leaving again,” said Miller.
Speaker William Howell called the decision by Democrats to flee the chamber for the Israel vote “a profile in courage.”
Pogge wrote on Facebook that she was “truly disappointed that not all of my House colleagues shared in this advocacy,” and linked to photo evidence of empty seats in the chamber during the vote.