Barton Seeks Support Of New Republicans

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Joe Barton (R-Tex.) is already campaigning for the chairmanship of the House Energy & Commerce Committee.

He is currently its ranking member, but will need a waiver of term limits for Republican leadership posts to gain the top spot.

In a letter welcoming the winning Republicans in the House, Barton congratulated them on their "well-deserved victory," said he needed their help to extend tax cuts and cut entitlement programs, endorsed John Boehner for speaker, then added: "When I am chairman, you won't find any Democrats applauding."

"If this sounds like a speech, well, it is," he continued. "One of the first major decisions waiting for you in Washington is deciding who will be the leaders of the next Congress. I'm supporting John Boehner for speaker. I also hope to participate, myself, as chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. I'll need the support of people like you who are coming to Washington with change on their minds and determination in their hearts."

Barton will have competition for the seat, including from Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who is in a strong position due to his fundraising prowess, though he is considered a moderate, while many of the new legislators are less so. In fact, Barton headlined a release of his letter with "Barton Congratulates Incoming Conservatives."

Also eyeing the E&C chairmanship are John Shimkus (R-Ill.) and Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.).

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