The Republican side of the House Armed Services Committee, including the leadership posts for many of its subcommittees, will undergo significant turnover in the next Congress as seven GOP members leave due to retirement, primary defeat or a decision to seek higher office.
The highest profile departure is Randy Forbes (R-Va.), who lost his primary last month after switching to a neighboring district. Forbes is the third most-senior Republican on the committee and the chair of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee. His departure will leave a noticeable void and prompt a battle for the chairmanship of the panel.
One likely candidate to fill his subcommittee post is fellow Virginian Rob Wittman (R), who now chairs the Readiness Subcommittee, which is responsible for BRAC and other installation and real estate matters.
“It’s no secret that I’ve shown interest in chairing the Seapower Subcommittee in the past,” Wittman told CQ Roll Call. “And I’d be honored to serve in that capacity in the future.”
The other likely candidate to replace Forbes on the Seapower panel is Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.)
If Wittman were to leave his current post to take over Seapower, one committee member who has expressed interest in assuming the Readiness slot is Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), who now leads the Oversight and Investigations panel.
Joe Heck (R-Nev.), chair of the Military Personnel Subcommittee, opted to leave the House to pursue the Senate seat being vacated by Minority Leader Harry Reid (D).
Other Republicans who will not be on the committee in the 115th Congress, even before the results of the Novembers elections are determined, are Jeff Miller (Fla.), John Kline (Minn.), John Fleming (La.), Chris Gibson (N.Y.) and Rich Nugent (Fla.).
On the Democratic side, at least four members are departing. Loretta Sanchez (Calif.), the No. 2 Democrat after Adam Smith (Wash.) is giving up her spot to run for the Senate, as is Tammy Duckworth (Ill.), who is running to unseat Sen. Mark Kirk (R). Two other Democratic members are retiring — Mark Takai (Hawaii) and Gwen Graham (Fla.).