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Barton Eyes House Republican Leadership Post

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) said he may challenge current House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) for the position of Republican leader in the wake of the Democratic sweep in the mid-term elections.

Barton, who has been chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee for more than two years and a friend of the oil and natural gas industry, is one of several Republicans expected to vie for the Republican leadership post.

Rep. John Dingell of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the House energy panel, is in line to replace Barton as chairman. It's not clear if Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX) would then become the ranking Republican on the committee.

"Before Tuesday's election, I said that if a leadership position opened in the House, I would be interested. I am now actively considering the option of seeking the post of Republican leader," Barton said.

"I worked as hard as I knew how to ensure that no Republican would become the next minority leader. I also said that the chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee was the best job in Washington, and that I was in no hurry to leave it or have it leave me. Finally, I had hoped and believed that my friend, Denny Hastert, would continue to serve as speaker [of the House] through the next Congress. The voters of America have decided otherwise, and I honor their votes and their decision."

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