Nov 03, 2010  |  Today's News |  Legislation & Regulation

As Election Day has come and gone, so has Democratic control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Similar changes happened in state legislatures around the country. With many races decided early in the day, some still remain too close to call. Here’s a round-up of comments from political watchers, politicians, and journalists around the country regarding the ramifications of yesterday’s elections. Also, here is a quick breakdown of the presumed changes in the House and Senate Committees that impact farm legislation.




Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry

Likely chair: Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

Likely Ranking Member: Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)

Current Chair Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) defeated


Environment and Public Works

Likely Chair:  Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

Likely Ranking Member: James Inhofe (R-OK)


Energy and Natural Resources

Likely Chair: Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)

Likely Ranking Member: Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) or Richard Burr (R-NC)

Current Ranking Member Murkowski (R-AK) fate undecided



Likely Chair: Daniel Inouye (D-HI)

Likely Ranking Member: Thad Cochran (R-MS)



Likely Chair: Max Baucus (D-MT)

Likely Ranking Member: Chuck Grassley (R-IA)





Likely Chair:  Frank Lucas (R-OK)

Likely Ranking Member: Collin Peterson (D-MN)


Transportation and Infrastructure

Likely Chair: John Mica (R-FL)

Likely Ranking Member: Nick Rahall (D-WV) or Peter DeFazio (D-OR)

Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN) defeated


Energy and Commerce

Likely Chair:  Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) or Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL)

Likely Ranking Member: Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA)

Current ranking member Joe Barton (R-TX) likely term limited



Likely Chair: Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY)

Likely Ranking Member: Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA)

Current Chair David Obey (D-WI) retired

Current ranking member Jerry Lewis (R-CA) likely term limited


Ways and Means

Likely Chair: Dave Camp (R-MI)

Likely Ranking Member: Sander Levin  (D-MI)


Senate Ag Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln loses her seat:  “Blanche Lincoln rose from a congressional aide to Arkansas' senior senator by cutting a path as a centrist who pleased opposing groups on the trickiest of federal issues. That split-the-difference style ultimately led to her downfall.

Lincoln's loss Tuesday to Republican Rep. John Boozman gives Arkansas only its second GOP senator since Reconstruction. It also ends or suspends the career of a farmer's daughter who became the youngest woman elected to the Senate and the first to chair the powerful Senate Agriculture Committee.”


“The change in power in the House of Representatives also will mean that Republican Rep. Frank Lucas of Oklahoma will be in line to be chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, replacing current chair Rep. Colin Peterson, D-Minn,” according to The Packer online. What will it mean to the House Ag Committee that a cattleman is the new chair?


Cindy Zimmerman reports on AgWired, “What is really amazing is that 16 of the 28 Democrats on the House Ag Committee were defeated – over half! On the Republican side – not a single member lost their election. Only Jerry Moran of Kansas will no longer be in the U.S. House as he won his bid for the open Senate seat in that state.”


NASDAQ online reports that Senators Stabenow (D-MI) and Conrad (D-ND) are likely candidates for the Chair of the Senate Ag Committee. "With the next Farm Bill right around the corner, I am ready once again to advocate for and strengthen this critical part of our economy for Michigan and our country," Stabenow said in a statement.


Proposition 23 failed in California, meaning that the state’s plans to regulate greenhouse gas emissions moves forward. This is negative for the corn ethanol market in California. Kevin Bullis reports in Technology Review, “The outcome of the election could have implications for greenhouse regulations, and renewable energy, around the country. In many cases, California's environmental regulations have served as models for other states, as well as the federal government--for example, current clean air and national fuel economy regulations can be traced back to environmental regulations in California.”


Biofuels Digest has put together Tsunami: The Top 10 Impacts for Biofuels from U.S. Elections, characterizing the “bottom line” as being moderately positive for biofuels.


A map of the election results is available here.