Leadership Changes in the 111th Congress
By Congresspedia assistant editor Avelino Maestas
With Democrats expanding their majorities in the House and Senate during the 2008 congressional elections, members of both parties sought to redefine the leadership structure within their respective caucuses. Some of the shuffling was predictable, while political calculation entered into consideration into other leadership campaigns. In addition, freshman members of the House and Senate were forced to take sides in their first actions in Congress, even though they have not yet taken office.
Much of the publicity centered around the future of Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) in the Democratic caucus, and over Rep. Henry Waxman’s (D-Calif.) bid to replace Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) as chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Republicans had their own drama, however, with a challenge to Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and a shift in the Senate leadership.