Two Democratic members of the House Agriculture Committee, Reps. Sean Patrick Maloney and Antonio Delgado, claimed re-election as vote counting continued in New York State. And in two other undecided races, Democrats halved their opponents' leads, thanks to absentee ballots.
Eight-term Rep. Jim Costa, who represents an agricultural district around Fresno in California's Central Valley, announced his candidacy for chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, saying the committee "should reflect the changing landscape of agriculture in the United States." As the majority party, House Democrats will select the chairman in the weeks ahead.
Nine-term Georgia Rep. David Scott asked House Democrats to name him Agriculture Committee chairman with a call on Thursday for racial justice and economic equality in agriculture, rural economic development, and a safety net for hungry Americans. He would be the first Black and the first Georgian to chair the committee.
Southerners could lead both of the Agriculture committees in Congress as a result of Tuesday's general election, which trimmed the majorities Republicans hold in the Senate and Democrats hold in the House. Rep. David Scott of Georgia was first in seniority to succeed chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota on the House Agriculture Committee, and Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas was in line to chair the Senate panel.
Two and possibly three of the "four corners" of farm policy, the Capitol Hill nickname for the chairmen and the minority leaders of the Senate and House Agriculture committees, will be occupied by new faces when Congress convenes in January. Two of the seats could go to Arkansans: Sen. John Boozman appears certain to succeed Pat Roberts as the top Republican on the Senate committee and Rep. Rick Crawford is vying to be the ranking Republican on House Agriculture.
If there were a "toss-up caucus" of U.S. representatives in the tightest races, House Agriculture chairman Collin Peterson could be its premiere member. The Blue Dog Democrat from western Minnesota is running for re-election against a well-financed Republican, former Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach, in a district that that voted for President Trump in a landslide in 2016.
The USDA needs to step in to help sheep ranchers in the West following the bankruptcy of the second-largest U.S. sheep processor, said leaders of the House Agriculture Committee on Wednesday.
Republican Reps. Troy Balderson of Ohio and Chris Jacobs of New York are newly appointed members of the House Agriculture Committee, announced Rep. Michael Conaway, the GOP leader on the panel, on Thursday.
With an early endorsement from President Trump, former Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach is the GOP favorite to run against House Agriculture chairman Collin Peterson in western Minnesota. But other candidates were loath to clear the way for her at a nominating convention in May and in the upcoming Aug. 11 primary election.
Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, a conservative Democrat in a Republican-leaning district, announced he would seek re-election in November, saying he was worried rural America is being left behind. President Trump has endorsed a Republican challenger against Peterson, who chairs the House Agriculture Committee, in a contest that is regarded as a toss-up.