A handful of states are emerging as big winners in the new House Republican majority as their representatives head to prominent roles on key panels.
Republicans from states including Texas, Florida, Mississippi and Kentucky are chairing or sitting on some of the highest-profile committees. These assignments offer lawmakers the opportunities to address issues in their states and to cement or launch their careers, as is the case for some freshmen.
Here are the states that won key representation on influential panels in the new House.
Hard work has paid off for the delegation from the Bluegrass State, with a slate of representatives holding significant influence on the Appropriations, House Rules, Judiciary, and Oversight and Accountability committees. That includes Oversight Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.), Rules and Judiciary member Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), the House dean.
“We have members who chose paths when they got in and stuck with them,” Republican strategist Tres Watson said. “A lot of Kentucky’s influence is due to patience.”
The rising star of the group is Comer, who is leading the House investigation into the Biden administration and Biden family.
Scott Jennings, a Kentucky-based GOP strategist, said Comer’s rise is part being in the right place at the right time and part smart maneuvering. In the lead up to the 118th Congress, several senior members either left the committee or left Congress entirely, making way for Comer to rise to the top.
Massie is the most surprising of the group, Jennings and Watson said of the northern Kentucky representative, who made a career of being an outsider and a contrarian.
“[Massie] played it smart and stuck with McCarthy all the way through,” Jennings said. “He has forged a relationship with leadership that’s unique because it bridges between the two wings of the party.”
Long a swing state, Florida is shifting to a Republican stronghold. Seating assignments from the 118th Congress back that up, with Sunshine State representatives getting a considerable number.
“Florida is the epicenter of the GOP and the envy of the nation,” Florida GOP strategist Ford O’Connell said. “This is the heyday for Florida politics.”
Much of Florida’s influence is thanks to national politics. Former President Trump now lives in South Florida, and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is making headlines amid speculation of a 2024 presidential run and his agenda-setting policy on education and health care.
That spotlight has made it easier for Florida representatives to make their own gains, O’Connell said, such as Rep. Matt Gaetz’s seats on the influential Armed Services and Judiciary committees.
Five Florida Republicans sit on the House Foreign Affairs Committee — the most of any state — and four sit on the Armed Services Committee, also leading the country.
“The Florida delegation has the ability to drive policy for the rest of the nation,” O’Connell said.
Texas Republicans are chairing several key House committees, even after recent high-profile retirements. Rep. Kay Granger chairs the Appropriations Committee, Rep. Michael McCaul chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Jodey Arrington chairs the Budget Committee and Rep. Roger Williams chairs the Small Business Committee.
Former Rep. Kevin Brady retired after the last Congress and was the ranking member on the House Ways and Means Committee. In recent years, Texas lost prominent centrist Reps. Will Hurd, who represented a southwestern border district and was at the time the House’s only Black Republican, and Kenny Marchant, then-ranking member on the Ethics Committee, to retirements, among others.
Still, that’s not to suggest Texas lawmakers are without influence: Five GOP Texans in total sit on the Appropriations Committee, which is responsible for allocating federal funding, and five Texas Republicans also serve on the Judiciary Committee.
Rep. Michael Guest now chairs the House Ethics Committee, a panel whose responsibilities include investigating House members or staff who may have broken House rules. His placement comes amid a slew of probes and negative headlines already embroiling first-term Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.).
Mississippi also enjoys representation on the Appropriations, Armed Services and Homeland Security committees. Guest sits on both the Appropriations and Homeland Security panels, while Rep. Trent Kelly (R) sits on the Armed Services and Intelligence committees and Rep. Mike Ezell (R) also sits on the Homeland Security Committee.
Guest’s spot on the Appropriations Committee is especially noteworthy for Mississippi given the panel is responsible for allocating federal money and the Magnolia State is one of the poorest in the country.
“I think just having both Michael Guest and Sen. [Cindy] Hyde-Smith on Appropriations gives us a voice at the table to make sure that Mississippi doesn’t get shorted,” said Mississippi-based GOP strategist Henry Barbour.
Two of the state’s House Republicans chair two of the most powerful committees: Rep. Jim Jordan chairs the House Judiciary Committee, including its Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, while Rep. Michael Turner chairs the Intelligence Committee.
Jordan has positioned himself as one of the Biden administration’s key adversaries, whose Judiciary select subcommittee is likely to target the Justice Department, among the federal agencies it could probe. Jordan and Turner also sit on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee.
Ohio-based GOP strategist Mark Weaver noted that Ohio Republican lawmakers on committees are also likely to address issues that are top-of-mind in the state, including coal, natural gas and oil — important parts of the economy in the eastern part of the state.
“In a divided Congress, it’s difficult to pass legislation. But the House oversight function continues on its own, meaning every one of these chairmen of committees will be able to use the power of subpoena to call in people and put them under oath and make them tell the truth about things like what’s happening in the domestic energy situation,” Weaver said.
Several of the New York Republicans who delivered major wins in the November midterms also notched leading committee assignments this Congress.
Rep. Nick Lalota sits on the Armed Services and Homeland Security committees. Rep. Mike Lawler, who ousted powerful former Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D), sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee. Rep. Anthony D’Esposito is also a member of the Homeland Security Committee.
Former Rep. Vin Weber (R-Minn.), once a member of House GOP leadership and GOP strategist, said that he believed New York would punch “considerably above its weight in this Congress.”
“That’s partially because they supplied new members, and we have a narrow majority. So New York gets a lot of credit for that,” he said, adding that those freshman Republicans entered Congress well-qualified.
Rep. Elise Stefanik, the House Republican Conference chair, also enjoys several important committee assignments, which include sitting on the Judiciary select subcommittee on the weaponization of the federal government.