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Barton Seeks Support of New Republicans

Joe Barton (R-Tex.) is already campaigning for the
chairmanship of the House Energy & Commerce Committee.

He is currently ranking member, but will need
a waiver of term limits for Republican leadership posts to gain the top spot.

In a letter welcoming the winning Republicans in
the House, Barton congratulated them on their "well-deserved
victory," said he needed their help to extend tax cuts and cut entitlement
programs, endorsed John Boehner for speaker, then added: "When I am
chairman, you won't find any Democrats applauding."

"If this sounds like a speech, well, it
is," he continued. "One of the first major decisions waiting for you
in Washington is deciding who will be the leaders of the next Congress. I'm
supporting John Boehner for speaker. I also hope to participate, myself, as
chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. I'll need the support of people
like you who are coming to Washington with change on their minds and
determination in their hearts."

Barton will have competition for the seat,
including from Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who is in a strong position due to his
fundraising prowess, though he is considered a moderate while many of the new
legislators are less so. In fact, Barton headlined a release of his letter with
"Barton Congratulates Incoming Conservatives."

Also eyeing the E&C chairmanship are John Shimkus and Cliff