Upton wins Energy and Commerce gavel

House Republican leaders on Tuesday selected Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) to be the next chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, according to a senior GOP leadership aide. 

Other candidates who were in the race included current ranking member Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) and Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.). Upton was considered the favorite even though some on the right said he was not conservative enough to lead the powerful committee.

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The race for the gavel grew heated over the last several weeks.

Barton portrayed himself as the Tea Party choice to hold the reins atop the panel that will be partially responsible for undoing major portions of what Republicans call "Obamacare."

Outside groups associated strongly with the Tea Party, including Freedom Works, headed by former House Majority Leader Richard Armey (R-Texas) endorsed Barton. Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Steve King (R-Iowa), who are leading members of the Tea Party Caucus, also backed Barton.


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