By Zack Colman - 04/23/13 03:24 PM EDT
If Wyden does leave, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) would be next in line to chair Energy and Natural Resources. That’s because Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), who is most senior under Wyden, is not seeking reelection.
But a Landrieu-led committee assumes two things — that she wins a reelection fight many expect to be tough, and that Democrats maintain control of the Senate.
Landrieu's more conservative stance on some energy issues, however, is a bit out of step with Senate Democratic leadership.
She has opposed repealing tax breaks for the oil and gas industry and has resisted measures to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The possibility of her leading Energy and Natural Resources could therefore put pressure on Wyden to stay put.
Should Landrieu lose her race and Democrats keep their majority in the Senate, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) would chair Energy and Natural Resources if Wyden departs.
The Hill's Bernie Becker has more on Baucus' retirement here.