If outgoing House Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas decides to challenge Rep. Jeb Hensarling for the Financial Services gavel and succeeds, it wouldn't be a setback for just the current chairman.
Rep. Michael G. Grimm, R-N.Y., who gave up his seat on the powerful committee earlier this year after being indicted on 20 counts of fraud and tax evasion , says Hensarling has promised he can return to the panel if he is cleared.
Grimm has maintained his innocence and expects to be exonerated when he stands trial in December — after he wins re-election next week.
"[He] has already said my spot is waiting," Grimm told the Staten Island Advance's editorial board last week. "The chairman of Financial Services has donated to my campaign. He's supporting me fully."
David Popp, a committee spokesman for Hensarling, confirmed to the Advance that Grimm's statement was "accurate." If Hensarling is ousted by Lucas, there's no guarantee the Oklahoma Republican would be as charitable toward Grimm. Lucas is still weighing his options, but Hensarling's chief of staff insists the Texas Republican can beat back any challenge handily.
Grimm's prospects could change dramatically between now and the new 114th Congress. Hensarling donated to Grimm's legal defense fund in July, but for the most part, major campaign contributions and establishment support have dried up since the indictment came down in April. Grimm is now one of the most vulnerable incumbents of the 2014 election cycle . CQ Roll Call rates the race as a Tossup.
Even if Grimm wins re-election, he could lose his court case and face a prison sentence — a scenario that would likely spur GOP leaders to finally force him to resign .
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