By Jennifer Martinez - 11/07/12 08:10 PM EST
Walden is expected to head up the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) next year, and observers say it's unclear if House GOP leadership will allow him to juggle both jobs, or keep his focus on NRCC duties. If Walden gives up his gavel, Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) would likely make a move for the chairman seat on the Communications and Tech panel, according to tech insiders.
While Terry is known for advocating for rural telecom issues, observers say the focus of the subcommittee wouldn't change much if he nabbed Walden's chairman seat. Rep. John Shimkus's (R-Ill.) name is also being floated for the role.
At this point, it's unclear if Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) will be able to hold on to her chairman seat on the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade subcommittee. While Bono Mack's race is still too close to call, CNN reports that her Democratic challenger, Raul Ruiz, is leading by 2 percentage points.
Bono Mack's subcommittee is tasked with overseeing online privacy and data security issues, as well as matters related to the Federal Trade Commission. If Bono Mack is defeated, Blackburn could be a possible candidate for her chairman seat, insiders say.
After Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) lost his primary earlier this year, Terry and Rep. Michael Burgess's (R-Texas) names are being floated to chair the coveted Oversight and Investigations subcommittee. Observers say Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) is also interested in chairing the subpanel.
Some committee seats will be open after a handful of members retire at the end of the congressional session, including Reps. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.), Ed Towns (D-N.Y.) and Charles Gonzales (D-Texas). Others won't be returning: Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) will be heading to the Senate after winning her Senate race Tuesday night, while New Hampshire Republican Rep. Charlie Bass lost his rematch to Democrat Ann McLane Kuster.