The 2010 midterm elections have been catastrophic for House Democrats, with the party losing at least 60 seats in the lower chamber. The electoral tsunami was so powerful that virtually no one, no matter how powerful, was fully protected from its wrath. Three House committee chairmen learned this the hard way on Tuesday.
Ike Skelton, a Democratic fixture from Missouri, served more than 30 years in Congress, rising to the post of chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Just two years ago, he was reelected with nearly two thirds of his district's votes. This year, however, he lost to GOP challenger Vicky Hartzler.
House Budget Committee chairman John Spratt was another casualty. The 68-year-old South Carolina congressman spent 28 years in the House. In 2008 he won more than 60% of the vote, but his Republican opponent Mick Mulvaney emerged victorious on Tuesday.
The third chairman to fall is Jim Oberstar. The Minnesota Congressman was first elected in the famous Democratic class of 1974. He has chaired the Transportation and Infrastructure committee since 2007. On Tuesday Oberstar was declared a loser this year, falling to Republican Chip Cravaack.
Skelton, Spratt and Oberstar were not the only threatened chairmen. Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank won a surprisingly competitive race on Tuesday, but not before he took out a huge loan to fund his campaign.