Smith Wins House Armed Services Spot

Posted December 16, 2010 at 8:44pm

House Democrats tapped Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) late Thursday to become the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, ending a hard-fought three-way battle.

The Caucus voted for Smith, 97-86, in a runoff against Rep. Loretta Sanchez, a day after the Steering and Policy Committee narrowly endorsed Smith over the California Democrat by a vote of 28-23. Sanchez announced shortly after Wednesday’s steering vote that she would contest the recommendation in the full Caucus.

Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes also made his pitch for the Armed Services ranking membership to the Caucus after losing in the first steering ballot Wednesday. The Texas Democrat, the most senior Democrat on Armed Services after the midterm elections wiped out its top four Democratic members, received the fewest votes, 58, in the first ballot. Sanchez and Smith both received 64 votes in the first ballot.

There could be ripple effects throughout the Caucus if Reyes pursues the Intelligence ranking member slot, which is up to Speaker Nancy Pelosi. A host of other Democrats have been in the running for that position.

Steven T. Dennis and Anna Palmer contributed to this report.