Stevens out, Dingell on the bubble


It’s almost official –Ted Stevens (R-AK) has lost his Senate seat to Mark Begich (D-AK), who has a lead of over 3.7K votes with only about another 2.5K left to count. That would make Kay Bailey Hutchison the favorite as Ranking Member on the Commerce Committee.

Meanwhile, Henry Waxman (D-CA) has potentially pulled the Chair legs out from under John Dingell (D-MI) for control of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee. Waxman prevailed in a 25-22 vote from the Steering and Policy Committee. That result basically affirms Waxman’s right to make a play for the seat. A vote from the full Democratic House caucus is expected today.

On the minority side of the House, radio veteran Mike Pence (R-IN) has joined a triumvirate of GOP House leaders as Chairman of the Republican Conference. He joins re-elected Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and newly elected Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA). Pence’s broadcast background is as a Talk show host, and he has been a leader in the effort to enact legislation forestalling return of the Fairness Doctrine.

RBR/TVBR observation: The biggest of these three stories is Waxman/Dingell, but for broadcasters, there probably isn’t all that much difference. Both are dogged grillmasters who will likely be more or less on the same page as President-elect Barack Obama when it comes to communications issues.