Pair of defeats put Saxton in line to head two committees, albeit from the minority

The defeats of California’s Richard Pombo and Pennsylvania’s Curt Weldon in yesterday’ mid-term elections puts New Jersey’s Jim Saxton in line to serve as the Ranking Minority Member of the House Resources Committee or the House Armed Services Committee. Saxton was passed over for the Resources post after the 2002 election by House GOP leaders who preferred the more conservative Pombo. The current Armed Services Chairman, Duncan Hunter, is term-limited under Republican caucus rules (he is mulling a bid for President in 2008). If Saxton gets the RMM slot on one of these panels, he’ll be in line for a chairmanship if the Republicans can win the House back in two years, but if he gets passed over again, watch the rumors of his ’08 retirement to increase. P.S., for extreme junkies: Saxton was held to 58% against political newcomer Richard Sexton; is it possible that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman John Adler missed an opportunity by not taking Saxton on this year? Saxton’s district is more Democratic than the seventh, where Linda Stender lost to Mike Ferguson 49%-48%; in 2004, George W. Bush won 53% of the vote in Ferguson’s district and 51% in Saxton’s.