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Midterms shake up House Ag Committee


A notable group of vulnerable House Agriculture Committee Democrats hung onto their seats in the midterms, as Republican hopes of a red wave dimmed.

The overall balance of power in the House is undecided as a number of races have yet to be determined. However, the GOP is on track to take narrow control of the chamber in the next Congress, giving House Republicans significant sway to shape the next farm bill.

If the House flips, Rep. G.T. Thompson (R-Pa.) is expected to take leadership of the committee. Current Chairman David Scott (D-Ga.) is also expected to make an effort to continue as ranking member.

With seniority rules, the list of potential challengers to Scott is very short. Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.), who ran against Scott for the top committee spot in 2020, doesn’t appear willing at this point to do it again, despite previous Democratic discontent over Scott’s leadership–especially ahead of what’s expected to be a brutal farm bill season.

Here’s who’s in and who’s out of the House Ag Committee:

DCCC Chair Sean Maloney (D-N.Y.): Maloney, who heads the political committee to elect House Democrats and chairs the House Ag Commodity Exchanges, Energy and Credit Subcommittee, lost in a huge upset for Republicans. The race between Maloney and state assemblyman Mike Lawler had tightened uncomfortably close for Democrats as Republicans poured millions of dollars into the race.

Rep. Al Lawson (D-Fla.) was the first incumbent of the night to lose, after Republican-led redistricting carved up his previous district in Florida’s panhandle.

Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa): Another extremely vulnerable Democrat, Axne lost a tight race in Iowa to GOP challenger and Air Force veteran Zach Nunn, who earned Trump’s endorsement this summer. She was the last congressional Democrat from the red-trending state.

Rep. Mayra Flores (R-Texas), who Republicans saw as a rising star after she won a Texas special election last summer, lost her member-on-member matchup to Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas).


Vulnerable Democrats pulled out much-needed wins for the party.

Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), who chairs the House Ag Conservation and Forestry Subcommittee, survived in Virginia.

Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minn.) won a tight race in Minnesota.

Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), an Ag Committee member who also currently serves as the chair of the powerful House Appropriations Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Subcommittee, held onto his seat after Democrats scrambled earlier this year to shore up his blue race in southwest Georgia.

Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.), a Democrat in a highly rural state, won a third term.

Rep. Don Bacon (Neb.), a vulnerable Republican and ranking member on the House Ag Nutrition Subcommittee, held onto his seat.’

Rep. Brad Finstad (R-Minn.), also in a tough race, held on in southern Minnesota after winning a special election earlier this year.


Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Ariz.): The most endangered House Democrat was on track to lose his rural, Arizona seat to a Trump-endorsed GOP challenger after the former president won the district in 2020.

Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.): Hayes, who currently heads the nutrition subcommittee, is leading but still locked in a tight race against former Republican State Senator George Logan. Democrats have scrambled to shore up her seat, pouring millions into the race.

Rep. Josh Harder (D-Calif.): A member of the House Ag Committee, Josh Harder is in a newly redrawn district but currently has a healthy lead on his challenger.

Rep. Kim Schrier (D-Wash.): Schrier, the only Democrat to represent Washington’s 8th district for decades, had a small lead over Republican Matt Larkin.

IL-17: Democrat Eric Sorensen is on track to win the race to fill retiring House Ag member Cheri Bustos’ northwest Illinois seat.

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