GOP Win Means Big Change for Senate Commerce

Related: Early Prognostications and Blur of Graphics Mark TV Election Coverage

At press time Wednesday morning, Republicans had taken back the Senate for the first time since George W. Bush was president.

It was unclear whether the total seat count for the GOP would be 53 or 54. That will be determined by a run-off in Louisiana, where the Republican, Bill Cassidy, is predicted to oust incumbent Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu. That will mean even more political ad money for the state's TV stations in the run-up to the run-off next month.

The Republicans held the House—picking up at least a dozen seats—with Energy & Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton (R- Mich.), Communications Subcommittee chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and ranking Communications Subcommittee member Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), all winning handily over their challengers, according to AP tallies. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), ranking member on Energy & Commerce, is retiring.

Having a tougher time was Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) a prominent member of the House Communications Subcommittee, who was defeated by Democrat Brad Ashford, one of the Republican’s few losses on the night.

On the Senate side, change, lots of it, is in the offing.

Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) is retiring and his seat was won by Republican Shelley Moore Capito, one of the pickups that helped the GOP take the Senate. Communications Subcommittee chairman Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) was also defeated by Republican Tom Cotton, yet another of those key seat switches.

Pryor and Rockefeller had pushed for retrans reform as part of the satellite re-authorization bill, though ultimately recognizing that would hold up the must-pass legislation.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.