Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) was on track to score a sizeable victory over Democratic challenger Lee Rogers for the 25th congressional district.
Ranking member Rep. Adam SmithAdam SmithOvernight Defense: House panel approves 0B defense bill GOP, Dems clash over LGBT rights in defense bill amendment House panel doubles authorized purchase of Russian rocket engines MORE (Wash.) is predicted to cruise to another term in the House, beating out GOP hopeful Jim Postma 71 percent to 28 in the state's 9th district, with over half of the precincts reporting.
Both wins virtually guarantee continuity among the House defense panel's top leaders. But a handful of races Tuesday night also guarantees some major shakeups within the committee's subpanels.
Ten-term Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) lost in a landslide to Democratic challenger John Delaney, with the longtime Republican only able to attract 37 percent of the vote.
Bartlett's loss not only ends one of the longest careers in the House but also opens the door for defense lawmakers to take his spot as the head of the committee's Tactical Air and Land subpanel.
The subpanel's ranking member slot is also open after Rep. Silvestre Reyes's (D-Texas) primary loss to Democratic challenger Beto Reyes earlier this year.
The leadership spot for the panel's seapower subcommittee is also now up for grabs after former Rep. Todd Akin's (R-Mo.) failed bid to unseat Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillDems slam Trump over taco bowl tweet Dem senators: Slash executive pay at pension plans seeking benefit cuts Bill would target retaliation against military sexual assault victims MORE (D-Mo.).
Despite this shakeup, congressional sources and defense observers told The Hill in October the committee would retain its well-earned reputation as one of the most pragmatic panels in the House.
That reputation will be ensured, due in no small part to McKeon and Smith's election victories Tuesday night.
McKeon and Smith have a good relationship on the committee, according to sources close to both lawmakers. They acknowledge there have been some sharp disagreements over sequestration this year and that the two don’t buck their own party leadership as much as previous committee heads might have.