The race to replace Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY) as the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Reform Committee is quickly heating up after the chairwoman lost her primary race to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) on Tuesday evening.
Depending on the outcome of the midterm elections, the lawmaker who prevails in the race will play a key role in either defending the Biden administration as Republicans look to launch investigations or leading additional investigations into controversies surrounding former President Donald Trump.
Multiple candidates have already made their interest in the role clear, with Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-VA), both of whom previously sought the position in 2019 but were defeated by Maloney, launching bids on Wednesday.
Maloney took over the position following the death of former Chairman Elijah Cummings.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), whose profile rose steeply serving as one of the impeachment managers and during his role on the Jan. 6 select committee, told Punchbowl News that he is “seriously considering” hopping in the race, and progressive Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) has also been floated as a potential contender.
Lynch touted his seniority on the panel, a factor that has played a key role in Democrats on the Steering Committee’s decisions in the past.
“Now in my 22nd year in Congress, I am the most senior member of the Oversight Committee seeking this position. During that time I have had the extraordinary privilege of pursuing key oversight investigations under the leadership of Democratic chairs — including Rep. Henry A. Waxman, the late Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, and Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney — who have all stood as steadfast, principled, and fearless champions for truth on behalf of our caucus and the American people,” he wrote. “I am deeply committed to building upon this legacy and keeping faith with our shared mission to maintain transparency in government in service to our Nation.”
One senior Democratic lawmaker told the Washington Examiner that Connolly is a “formidable” candidate in the race but argued that it’s anyone’s game.
Connelly, who chairs the Subcommittee on Governmental Operations, asserted that he’s a “collaborator who can be a bridge to our talented and diverse caucus” while announcing his decision to run, taking a swing at Trump and arguing that he has the best credentials to continue their work on probing the former president.
“Our Caucus must continue to repair the damage left by the Trump administration, while also protecting the progress made by President Biden and our Democratic majorities,” Connolly said in a statement to the Washington Post. “We need a tested leader who will not be timid in the face of Republican insurrectionists. One who has a deep understanding of the issues facing our Committee and our country. A collaborator who can be a bridge to our talented and diverse caucus. I believe I can be that leader, and look forward to earning the support of my colleagues.”
Khanna and Raskin have not announced their decisions.
The winner of the race will be the Democratic counterpart to Rep. James Comer (R-KY), who currently serves as the ranking member on the panel.