House Leadership Races Immediately Under Way

Posted November 5, 2008 at 12:24pm

Updated: 1:45 p.m.

Even before the ink dries on Tuesday’s elections, House leadership races are erupting all over.

Democrats are staring at a rumble between two powerful committee leaders, with Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Henry Waxman (Calif.) seeking to wrest the Energy and Commerce Committee chairmanship from Rep. John Dingell (Mich.). The party is also facing a potential leadership scramble if Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) heads to the White House to serve as President-elect Obama’s chief of staff.

On the House GOP side, Chief Deputy Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) appeared to be seeking a promotion to the top whip position held by Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who hasn’t yet decided his future.

“Mr. Blunt is focused right now on speaking to Members of the House Republican Conference that have reached out to him, and in doing what is best for the future of the Republican Party and the nation,” said his spokeswoman, Antonia Ferrier.

Conservative Republican Study Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) was looking to take over the Conference chairmanship being vacated by Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.), who pre-emptively quit his leadership post late last night.

Also, Rep. Mike Burgess (R-Texas) announced plans to take on Republican Policy Committee Chairman Thaddeus McCotter (Mich.), who early Wednesday issued a scathing indictment of his own party’s leadership.

And House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced he would seek to lead the Republicans again next Congress, vowing to rebuild the party and put an end to its losing streak. No one has yet emerged as a challenger to Boehner, although Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) once again called for the leadership team to be dumped.

Finally, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) appears certain to face at least one challenger in his bid to secure a second term as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) is planning to rival Cole for the NRCC job. Republicans lost at least 18 House seats in Tuesday’s balloting.