Tax-writing lawmakers lose seats
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
A few votes are still being counted, but for four members of the federal tax-writing committees, the news is not good.
A senior Republican member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the newest GOP Senator on the Finance Committee both lost their reelection bids in yesterday's Democratic sweep of Washington, D.C.
Phil English (R-Pa.) has served as ranking minority member on the Ways and Means Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee. He had been a member of Ways and Means since he took office in 1994. English lost to Democratic challenger Kathy Dahlkemper.
Across Capitol Hill, Sen. John E. Sununu (R-N.H.), lost to Jeanne Shaheen, the former Democratic governor of New Hampshire. Sununu was the junior-most member of the Senate Finance Committee, taking that slot in January when he was appointed to fill the seat left vacant when Trent Lott (R-Miss.) resigned.
Two races up in the air: Two other Republican tax writers are awaiting final word on their political futures.
Gordon Smith (R-Ore.), who's served on the Senate Finance panel since 2003, remains in a fight for his seat. Smith took the lead overnight, but most news outlets still list the race as too close to call.
However, RightPundits.com predicts that Democrat Jeff Merkley will defeat Smith. The Web site says a county-by-country analysis of the outstanding votes show that Merkley will win by about 50,000 votes.
UPDATE, 1:30 p.m. CT Nov. 6:
Merkley declared winner in Oregon,
unseating GOP incumbent Smith.
Also still up in the air is Nevada's 3rd Congressional District seat held by Republican Jon C. Porter. Last night, some media outlets reported that former state senate Democratic leader Dina Titus had defeated Porter, the most junior Republican on Ways and Means. However, there's not been an official call of the race.
Titus declared winner in Nevada,
unseating GOP incumbent Porter.
Thanks to the overall increase in the House and Senate, Democrats will have a stronger hold on the tax-writing committees in both legislative chambers.
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