New and familiar faces will serve on agriculture committees when Congress convenes in January following the Nov. 3 general election.
The chairmen of the Senate and House will be new after the voters spoke.
Congressman Roger Marshall, R-KS, was elected to a six-year term to the U.S. Senate to replace Pat Roberts, the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, who did not seek re-election after serving since 1997. In a high profile race, Marshall defeated Democratic challenger Barbara Bollier by a vote of 697,787 to 536,402. (Note: All vote totals listed are unofficial and not yet final.)
Minnesota voters provided a national surprise to agricultural observers when Republican challenger Michelle Fischbach unseated longtime Rep. Collin Peterson, a Democrat, on a 191,805-to-142,399 vote. Peterson is the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.
Republican Tracey Mann was elected to the House seat to replace Marshall in the First District and is expected to be on the House Agriculture Committee. Mann, a former lieutenant governor, defeated Democrat Kali Barnett by a vote of 202,449 to 80,300.
Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican, and a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, lost his seat to John Hickenlooper, a Democrat and former state governor, on a 1,565,775-to-1,280,289 vote. Iowa Republican Joni Ernst, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee fended off challenger Theresa Greenfield, a Democrat, by an 863,670-to-753,314 vote. Republican Sen. Ben Sasse, of Nebraska, was re-elected on a 562,224-to-216,887 margin over Chris Janicek, a Nebraska Democrat.
The House mirrors the Senate as many incumbents were retained, although there will be new faces, too.
Former House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-OK, retained his seat as he easily defeated Democratic challenger Zoe Midyett on a 242,392-to-66,430 vote.
Rep. Rick Crawford, R-AR, a member of the Agriculture Committee, ran unopposed and will serve another two-year term. Rep. Donald Bacon, a Nebraska Republican, fended off a challenge from Democrat Kara Eastman with a 162,087-to-146,992 tally. Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-SD, won on a 296,281-to-64,971 vote over Randy Luallin, a Libertarian. Missouri Rep. Vicky Hartlzer easily defeated challenger Democrat Lindsey Simmons, 245,064 to 107,528.
In Texas, Democratic incumbent Filemon Vela defeated Republican Rey Gonzalez, 109,891 to 83,572. In the 11th District, voters elected a replacement for former agriculture committee chairman Mike Conaway. They selected Republican August Pfluger over Democrat Jon Hogg by a vote of 231,781 to 53,198. In Iowa, Cindy Axne, a Democrat, is leading David Young, a Republican, on a 218,968-to-212,727 vote, but as of Nov. 4 was too early to call. In New Mexico, agriculture committee member Xochitl Torres Small, a Democrat, was unseated by Yvette Herrell, a Republican, on a 141,227-to-120,766 vote.
Other noteworthy races
In other prominent races, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, an Oklahoman Republican, won re-election in defeating Democrat Abby Broyles on a 977, 813-to-509,186 vote.
In Texas, Sen. John Coryn, a Republican, also was re-elected as he fended off Democratic challenger Mary Hegar 5,883,805 to 4,790,185. Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican, easily won re-election 777,192 to 390,234 over Ricky Harrington, a Libertarian. In Wyoming, Republican Cynthia Lummis will move over from the House to the Senate after she easily defeated Democratic challenger Merav Ben-David 197,961 to 72,720. In Montana, Sen. Steve Daines, a Republican, held off a challenge by Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, 310,097 to 257,670.
Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or email@example.com.