Cable policy oversite committee has 12 openings

Look for a dozen new faces next year on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the key panel that oversees much of the legislation affecting broadcasters, cable operators and Hollywood.

Though leadership of the committee remains unchanged–committee chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) and telecommunications subcommittee honcho Ed Markey both easily won re-election–12 of 43 lawmakers on the panel either retired or were defeated in their bids for re-election.

Tuesday’s election resulted in losses for committee members Gerry Sikorski (D-Minn.), Tom McMillen (D-Md.), Peter Kostmayer (D-Pa.), Don Ritter (R-Pa.) and Clyde Holloway (R-Ala.).

Other members of the committee who had previously announced their retirement or were defeated in the primary were Rep. Norm Lent of New York, the ranking Republican; Rep. Matthew Rinaldo (R-N.J.), ranking GOP member of Markey’s telecommunications subcommittee; and Reps. Dennis Eckart (D-Ohio), James Scheuer (D-N.Y.), Terry Bruce (D-Ill.), and Claude Harris (D-Ala.).

The 12 new committee members will not be selected until January.

Meanwhile, in the Senate, commerce committee chairman Ernest Hollings (D-S.C.) survived a tough re-election fight, as did Senate communications subcommittee chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii).

House Judiciary Committee member Dan Glickman (D-Kan.) won re-election despite a Wichita cable TV system’s effort to oust him.

Rep. Pat Williams (D-Mont.), a strong backer of the National Endowment for the Arts, was re-elected.

Sen. Wyche Fowler (D-Ga.), a strong cable TV industry backer and close friend of cable magnate Ted Turner, failed to garner the 50% needed for re-election and will face a runoff election with Republican Paul Coverdell.

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