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House Agriculture to lose one in five members

Between retirement and electoral defeat, 10 members will leave the House Agriculture Committee when the congressional session ends next month — one-fifth of its roster. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saluted one of the defeated Democrats, Rep. Tom O’Halleran of Arizona, as a respected leader on the Agriculture and the Energy and Commerce committees.

There are 27 Democrats and 24 Republicans on the Agriculture Committee. Composition of the committee was expected to further change. Some of the remaining members may seek assignments to other panels and replacements must be named to fill the vacancies.

O’Halleran, a co-chair of the Blue Dog Coalition, lost a race for re-election last week, as did Democrats Al Lawson of Florida, Cindy Axne of Iowa and Sean Patrick Maloney of New York State, and Republican Mayra Flores of Texas. Three members of panel retired, Democrats Cheri Bustos and Bobby Rush of Illinois and Republican Chris Jacobs, have announced retirement from Congress. Rep. Vicky Hartzler ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for Senate in Missouri. Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis lost to Rep. Mary Miller, also an Agriculture member, in an incumbent-v.-incumbent Republican primary in Illinois.

In a statement, Pelosi said O’Halleran was “a relentless voice for Arizona communities: whether fighting to expand rural broadband, improve water conservation or invest in Arizona farmers.” Eli Crane, a Trump-endorsed businessman, defeated O’Halleran, 54-46, in the redrawn Second Congressional District of Arizona.

Two races involving House Agriculture Committee members, California Democrats Jim Costa and Josh Harder, were undecided as of Sunday. Both were in the lead with thousands of ballots to be counted.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
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