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.