Rep. Sherman loses leadership battle on key foreign affairs subcommittee

The fallout from last year's bitter intra-party fight continues for Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), who lost out to Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) for the top Democratic spot atop the newly created House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa.

Sherman was next in line for the spot and lobbied for it after losing out to Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) for the ranking membership on the full committee, a committee insider told The Hill. The newly created panel, chaired by outgoing committee chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), is expected to play a key role as it tackles crucial issues like Iran and Syria.

Sherman did not attend Tuesday's organizational meeting. He will not sit on the subcommittee.

Sherman angered many Democrats with his attacks against the panel's former top Democrat, Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), in a bitter fight for the redistricted San Fernando Valley House seat. After conceding the fight to Deutch, the source said, Sherman was unanimously reelected as the ranking member on the terrorism, nonproliferation and trade subcommittee. 

"Sherman did not pick a preference until recently and did not devote more than a few minutes to lobbying for the Middle East Subcommittee," his chief of staff, Don MacDonald, told The Hill via an email. MacDonald said the congressman "had been considering whether to bid for TNT [Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade], Middle East and North Africa, or to seek the same position with the Insurance and Housing Subcommittee on Financial Services."

The congressman is "happy to have been elected 21-0 to serve as the Ranking Member of the Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade (TNT) Subcommittee, where he has served as chair or ranking since 2003" and "looks forward to continuing as the lead Democrat on the TNT subcommittee in the 113th, where he can continue to focus on export control reform, preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, and trade issues important to his district."

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“I'm glad that it worked out,” Deutch told The Hill. “These are issues that I've been involved in all my life. And I'm glad to have received the support of my colleagues, and I was thrilled Rep. Sherman in his efforts to continue on as ranking member” on the terrorism subpanel. 

“Ultimately, both of the votes were unanimous and everything worked out.”

Engel also announced Tuesday that Rep. Albio Sires (D-N.J.) would replace him as the top Democrat on the Western Hemisphere subpanel, while Rep. William Keating (D-Mass.) becomes ranking member on the subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats.

Engel and the new chairman, Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), vowed a more bipartisan tone on the committee in the new year.

“No one here has a monopoly on wisdom,” Royce said. 

--Updated at 4:31 p.m.