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AASHTO Journal

2012 Elections Largely Keep Transportation-Related Candidates in Office

If the 2012 presidential, congressional, and gubernatorial elections are any indication, there will likely be few major shakeups in transportation policy through the next couple years.

President Barack Obama was granted another term by voters across the nation, while most of those on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure are also coming back to Washington for another term. Right now, 46 of the 58 current House T&I committee members are expected to return to the committee in January. Three exceptions are Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa), Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.), and Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.). Four members of the committee lost before the general elections in primaries and therefore will not be returning to the T&I Committee: Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio), Tim Holden (D-Pa.), Russ Carnahan (D-Mo.), and Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) Aside from those who lost their bid for re-election, five other T&I members will not be returning due to retirement or acquiring another position.

Eyes are on the House Transportation Committee, however, for other reasons. Current Chairman, Rep. John Mica (R-Fl.), has hit his caucus' term limit as chair, and Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) is in line and vying for that top spot after his own re-election.

"I look forward to working together to promote competitiveness and economic growth, reform programs, focus our resources where they are needed most, and better manage our federal assets," Shuster wrote in a letter to his colleagues, obtained by Politico. "I am prepared to take on the tough challenges ahead and ask for your support to serve as chairman."

There still is a possibility Mica could seek a waiver from GOP leadership to serve one more two-year term. It is still unclear whether Mica will ask for the rare exception.

With Democrats expanding the size of their majority in the Senate, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) is expected to continue her leadership as Chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee and Max Baucus (D-Mont.) as Chair of the Finance Committee. However, some leadership changes are expected amongst Republicans. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), the current ranking member of the committee, is facing a term limit on his leadership position, leaving the spot open for a Republican. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) is expected to fill that spot.

Eleven states held elections for governors, resulting in five new governor elects: Rep. Jay Inslee (Washington State), Attorney General Steve Bullock (Montana), Rep. Mike Pence (Indiana), former Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory (North Carolina), and former state senate majority leader Maggie Hassan (New Hampshire). The race in North Carolina is the only one that resulted in a governor-elect from the opposing party of the previous administration.

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