Election Will Change Ag Leadership

Election Will Change Ag Leadership

Political shift will lead to new chairs of Congressional agriculture committees.

As expected on Tuesday Republicans took control of the House of Representatives as many incumbent Democrats were defeated. This will lead to a shakeup in the leadership in the 112th Congress. One incumbent who retained his seat, Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., will lose his chairmanship of the House Agriculture Committee. It is expected that current ranking member Frank Lucas, R-Okla., will assume that position. Longtime agriculture committee member Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., lost his bid for reelection as did Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, D-S.D. In all, fourteen members of the House Agriculture Committee lost in Tuesday's election. Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., will also be leaving the House Agriculture Committee as he was elected to the Senate.

On the Senate side, Agriculture Committee Chair Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., was defeated, and committee member Michael Bennet, D-Colo., was trailing slightly in a race too close to call.  Although Republicans closed the gap, Democrats maintained their majority in the Senate and there has been speculation that Senator Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., could be the next chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Although Senators Max Baucus, D-Mont, Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., all have more seniority than Stabenow, they hold committee chairmanships of Finance, Budget, and Judiciary, respectively. 

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