December 22, 2013

ROLL CALL: Landrieu Tops List of Democrats to Benefit From Baucus Exit.

President Barack Obama’s decision to tap Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., as ambassador to China is a political boon for Democrats trying to protect their vulnerable majority, but especially for Sen. Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana.

In the game of gavel dominoes that would be set off by Baucus vacating his chairmanship of the Finance Committee, Landrieu would likely ascend to the top of the Energy Committee, which could serve as a valuable tool in her tough 2014 re-election bid. The Louisiana Democrat, who often speaks of drilling issues on the Senate floor, would be in a position to team up with the panel’s top Republican, Lisa Murkowski of oil-rich Alaska, on various issues important to her state.

The committee shakeup was a hot topic of conversation when Baucus announced his retirement in April, but now there’s an added wrinkle and the Montana Democrat’s early departure could factor into 2014 politics. With gulf drilling issues key to voters back in Louisiana, the impact of Landrieu taking the energy panel’s gavel would be intensified.

Interesting. But what would Obama do on gulf drilling?