Republican Clean Sweep

The Republican Party had a clean sweep on Tuesday with the reelection of President George W. Bush, gaining four Senate seats and gaining at least two seats in the House of Representatives. A big winner in the election was incumbency with only one Senator being defeated and seven House members losing. Here’s a brief snapshot of the election results:

White House: Bush won decisively in the South, Rocky Mountain and Great Plains states; Kerry won in the Northeast, Midwest and the West. The rural areas were a major part of Bush’s win.

Senate: The Republicans had a net gain of four Senate seats with pick-ups in Florida (Mel Martinez), Georgia (Johnny Isakson), Louisiana (David Vitter), North Carolina (Richard Burr), South Carolina (Jim DeMint), and South Dakota (John Thune). The Democrats picked up Colorado (Ken Salazar) and Illinois (Barak Obama). The biggest win for the Republicans was the defeat of Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD). The last time a Senate leader was defeated for reelection was 1952.

House: At this point, the Republicans will have a net gain of two seats in the House of Representatives. The 109th Congress will make 12 years of Republican control of the House of Representatives. The last time this happened was 1921-1933.

Election Impact on Agriculture Committees

The biggest change on the House Agriculture Committee is the defeat of Texas Congressman Charlie Stenholm (D-TX) who serves as Ranking Member of the Committee and is the longest serving member. Congressman Collin Peterson (D-MN) is expected to become the Ranking Member. Committee changes stack up as follows: House: Three members of the House Agriculture Committee were defeated: Stenholm (D-TX), Max Burns (R-GA), and Baron Hill (D-IN). In addition, three members of the Committee did not run for reelection: Congressmen Cal Dooley (D-CA), Doug Ose (R-CA), and Nick Smith (R-MI). There will be additional changes on the committee next year with some current members moving to other committees.

Senate: There will be three vacancies on the Senate Agriculture Committee with the defeat of Senator Daschle and the retirements of Senators Peter Fitzgerald (R-IL) and Zel Miller (D-GA).

109th Congress – Leadership & Agriculture Committee Changes

Leadership: The House Republican and Democratic leadership will remain the same. However, there will be new Democratic leadership in the Senate. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) will be the new Minority Leader. At this time, Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND) are expected to seek the position of Minority Whip. The Senate Democratic Caucus will decide this later this month or early December.

Agriculture Committees: Congressman Robert Goodlatte (R-VA) will continue as chairman of the House Agriculture Committee and Congressman Collin Peterson (D-MN) is expected to become the new Ranking Member of the committee. The new chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee will be either Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) or Saxby Chambliss (R-GA). Current chairman Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) will become chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) will remain as Ranking Member of the committee.