Smith, Sanchez Duke It Out for Armed Services Nod

Posted December 15, 2010 at 8:14pm

Reps. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) are battling to become the ranking member on the Armed Services Committee after Smith narrowly won the endorsement of the Steering and Policy Committee on Wednesday.

“I appreciate the support and vote of confidence from my colleagues on the Steering and Policy Committee,” Smith said after winning by a vote of 28-23.

“After a thorough and lengthy vetting process, which allowed all members of the Steering and Policy Committee to fully understand the positions, policies and experience of all three candidates, it is an honor to receive the nomination,” he added.

But Sanchez plans to take the fight to the full Caucus, which will vote to determine who becomes ranking member.

“After very close votes on both ballots, I am honored to have the strong support from colleagues in the Steering and Policy Committee,” she wrote in a letter seeking Caucus members’ support.

“I can assure you that if given the opportunity to serve as the Democratic Leader on the Armed Services Committee, I will be fully committed each and every day to ensure that the needs of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines are met,” she said.

Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas), was also in the running for the Armed Services slot, but he lost on the first ballot. There could be ripple effects down the Caucus if Reyes instead secures the Intelligence ranking member slot, which is up to Pelosi. A host of other Democrats have been in the running for that position.