Committee chairmanships are up for grabs

Committee chairmanships are up for grabs
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As many as 11 House committee chairmanships will be in play this month, as Republicans choose their leaders after a triumphant midterm election cycle.

Chairmen are generally picked by the House Republican Steering Committee, made up of members of the leadership team and Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerFrom learning on his feet to policy director Is Congress retrievable? Boehner reveals portrait done by George W. Bush MORE (R-Ohio); existing panel chairmen; 11 regional representatives; and representatives of the 2010 and 2012 electoral classes.

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Chairmanships of the Intelligence, Administration and Ethics panels, however, are appointed by the Speaker.

 The Steering Committee will conduct interviews with candidates next Monday and Tuesday and then offer its recommendations. The full House GOP conference must then ratify a list of the new chairmen at a meeting planned for Nov. 19.

Here’s a look at the races.

Oversight and Government Reform

Exiting: Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who is term-limited

Candidates: Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzElijah Cummings, Democratic chairman and powerful Trump critic, dies at 68 House Oversight panel demands DeVos turn over personal email records The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke MORE (R-Utah), Michael Turner (R-Ohio), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and John Mica (R-Fla.)

Chaffetz and Turner are the front-runners in perhaps the most competitive House chairmanship race, but Jordan could give them both a run for their money.

The Wall Street Journal, in somewhat of a surprise, endorsed the former head of the Republican Study Committee, giving Jordan a significant boost.

Mica is considered a long shot.

Armed Services

Exiting: Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), who is retiring

Candidates: Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) and Randy ForbesJames (Randy) Randy ForbesToo much ‘can do,’ not enough candor Trump makes little headway filling out Pentagon jobs Why there's only one choice for Trump's Navy secretary MORE (R-Va.)

McKeon’s implicit endorsement of Thornberry, the panel’s vice chairman and next in seniority, helps his case.

The Texan also appears to have an edge from giving more than $340,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee in this election cycle, compared to Forbes’s roughly $63,000.

Forbes also created unwanted headlines for the GOP leadership last year when Politico reported he was urging donors to withhold donations from gay candidates.

Natural Resources

Exiting: Doc HastingsRichard (Doc) Norman HastingsCongress just resolved a 20-year debate over Neolithic remains Boehner hires new press secretary GOP plots new course on Endangered Species Act reform MORE (R-Wash.), who is retiring

In: Rob BishopRobert (Rob) William BishopWalden retirement adds to GOP election woes Overnight Energy: Automakers group sides with Trump in emissions lawsuit | Latest on California wildfires | Walden won't seek reelection | Park Service scraps plan to charge protesters for security Oregon GOP Rep. Greg Walden won't seek reelection MORE (R-Utah)

Bishop is the front-runner to take over the panel; Rep. Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems release first transcripts from impeachment probe witnesses GOP lawmaker head-butts MoveOn camera Hundreds turn out for London's first transgender equality march MORE (R-Alaska), the panel’s senior Republican, has already served as chairman.

Next in seniority is Rep. Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertLive coverage: House holds first public impeachment hearing GOP lawmaker invokes possibility of 'civil war' after House votes on Trump impeachment procedures Why the GOP march of mad hatters poses a threat to our Democracy MORE (R-Texas), but on Wednesday, his office told The Hill that he would support Bishop.

Bishop, who serves on the powerful House Rules Committee, is considered someone leadership can count on. The Utah Republican chairs the Public Lands and Environmental Regulations subcommittee.

Ways and Means

Exiting: Dave Camp (R-Mich.), who is retiring 

Candidates: Paul RyanPaul Davis Ryan Retirees should say 'no thanks' to Romney's Social Security plan California Governor Newsom and family dress as 2020 Democrats for Halloween DC's liaison to rock 'n' roll MORE (R- Wis.), Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyLawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families How centrist Dems learned to stop worrying and love impeachment On The Money: Senate passes first spending package as shutdown looms | Treasury moves to roll back Obama rules on offshore tax deals | Trade deal talks manage to weather Trump impeachment storm MORE (R-Texas)

Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, is the front-runner to pick up the tax panel’s gavel, even though Brady has more seniority on the panel and is challenging the GOP star.

The wonky Ryan was his party’s 2012 vice presidential candidate and is seen as a potential White House contender in 2016. One of the GOP’s brightest stars, Ryan has described heading up the Ways and Means panel as his dream job.

Budget 

Exiting: Ryan

In: Tom Price (R-Ga.)

Assuming Ryan wins the Ways and Means gavel, there will be an opening at the helm of the House Budget Committee. Price, the panel’s vice chairman, is widely expected to take over.

Intelligence

Exiting: Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), who is retiring

Candidates: Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Pete King (R-N.Y.)

Miller, the chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, is seen as having the edge in this race. He’s next in seniority on the panel after Thornberry, who is expected to lead Armed Services.

One factor in Nunes’s favor is that he is a close ally of BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerFrom learning on his feet to policy director Is Congress retrievable? Boehner reveals portrait done by George W. Bush MORE and the rest of the House Republican leadership team. Boehner alone is responsible for appointing the Intelligence panel’s leader.

Veterans’ Affairs 

Exiting: Miller

Candidates: Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.)

If Miller takes over the Intelligence committee, as expected, Bilirakis, the Veterans’ Affairs panel’s vice chairman, and Lamborn, who ranks next in seniority, would be in line to take over.

Both have been careful not to campaign for the post, because it’s not yet clear Miller will leave.

Bilirakis said in a statement that he would be “honored and eager to expand my role” on the committee should Miller move on. A spokesman for Lamborn said the Colorado Republican is “certainly keeping all of his options open.”

Agriculture

Exiting: Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), who is term-limited

In: Mike Conaway (R-Texas)

Conaway is considered the front-runner for the chairmanship, even though he isn’t the highest in seniority.

A prolific fundraiser, Conaway is the current chairman of the panel’s Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management, which oversees crop insurance, commodity exchanges and markets related to cotton, wheat, rice and beans.

He’s also in his first term as House Ethics Committee chairman.

Financial Services

Exiting: Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), if he doesn’t survive a challenge

Candidate: Lucas 

Lucas, who is term-limited as House Agriculture Committee chairman, said last month that he’s weighing whether to challenge Hensarling for the Financial Services gavel. The Oklahoma Republican said members have told him they’d like a “different way of going about things compared to the last two years” — Hensarling has had difficulty negotiating high-profile deals with the GOP leadership. 

Lucas hasn’t officially declared his candidacy, however.

Ethics 

Exiting: Conaway

Candidates: Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), Pat Meehan (R-Pa.) or a wildcard

Heading investigations into colleagues’ ethical transgressions is perhaps the least desirable leadership position in Congress, so members rarely launch public campaigns for the House Ethics Committee. 

The chairmanship won’t open up, unless Conaway leaves to become the Agriculture Committee chairman.

Dent, who has served in the House since 2005, is next in seniority, with Meehan following him on the roster. 

Reps. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Conway spars with Wallace on whether White House will cooperate with impeachment inquiry after formal vote Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' MORE (R-S.C.), chairman of the Benghazi Select Committee, and Susan BrooksSusan Wiant BrooksOregon GOP Rep. Greg Walden won't seek reelection Here are the lawmakers who aren't seeking reelection in 2020 Pelosi: GOP retirements indicate they'll be in the minority, with Democrat in the White House MORE (R-Ind.) are the other two Republican members on the panel.

The Speaker appoints the Ethics panel chairman and could theoretically install a lawmaker who isn’t already on the panel if a current member isn’t moved up.

Small Business

Exiting: Sam GravesSamuel (Sam) Bruce GravesDemocratic lawmaker asks for probe of reports Chao favored Kentucky officials Trump administration to repeal waterway protections Republicans spend more than million at Trump properties MORE (R-Mo.), who is term-limited

In: Steve Chabot (R-Ohio)

Chabot is next in seniority and is considered the front-runner to succeed Graves.

The Ohio Republican also served as the Small Business Committee’s ranking member from 2007-2008, when Democrats still held the House majority. But he lost reelection in 2008 and missed his chance to become chairman, when Republicans won back the House. After winning his seat back in 2010, Chabot is in a strong position to secure the gavel.

Scott Wong contributed

This story was updated at 9:58 a.m.