In yet another demonstration of the shifting power structure, Republicans toppled three Democrat committee chairs Tuesday night. Missouri Rep. Ike Skelton, South Carolina Rep. John Spratt and Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln were all forced to not only give up their gavels, but to leave Congress altogether.
After thirty-four years, Missouri voters gave Skelton, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, the boot in favor of a former home economics teacher and state lawmaker, Republican Vicky Hartzler. The Washington Post chalked the 78-year-old’s defeat up to a feeling on the part of voters that he “had lost touch with his rural west-central Missouri district,” a district which gave just 38% of its vote to Barack Obama in 2008.
Spratt, the House Budget Committee chairman, struck out in South Carolina Tuesday night as well in a district that has not elected a Republican congressman in over 100 years. Republican state senator Mick Mulvaney defeated the long-time congressman by labeling him a big spender and loyal minion of the Obama/Pelosi machine.
Finally, Arkansas told Lincoln, the chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, to hit the road, deciding instead to embrace Republican Rep. John Boozman as their new senator. Boozman hit Lincoln hard during his campaign on her support for the new health care law, over-regulation, and profligate spending.