Top ag committee members live to see another day

Cochran surprises with a run-off win and Lucas easily secures primary win.

Republicans secured two top agriculture committee members in elections June 24, paving the way for their likely wins this fall.

Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Thad Cochran won a run-off primary election for his Mississippi Republican seat Tuesday night. And House Agriculture Committee chairman Frank Lucas easily won his Republican primary.

Cochran, who helped secure significant changes to the final farm bill since he came on to the committee ranking member position two years ago, was forced to a run-off after he narrowly lost to the Tea Party-backed candidate state Sen. Chris McDaniel on June 3.  

The Senate is very much in play this fall in switching from Democrat-controlled to Republican, and the National Republican party took notice of the important role Cochran could play in the final outcome. The 76-year-old Cochran has served for 36 years in the U.S. Senate.

If Republicans do take over control of the Senate, Cochran could assume the role of chairman of the all-powerful Appropriations Committee and Sen. Pat Roberts (R., Kan.) could become the chairman of the Agriculture Committee.

Roberts stepped down from the ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee in order to allow for Cochran to take over the helm due to seniority. Roberts previously served as the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee but Democrats have been in control of the Senate over the past decade, limiting him from assuming the top position.

Meanwhile, Lucas easily secured his names as the Republican on the House’s 3rd Congressional District ticket this fall, obtaining 83% of the vote. He’s been in office since 1994 and often seen as the Job of this year’s approved farm bill after years of work.

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