There have been rumblings for about a month that current Oversight Committee Chairman Ed Towns would somehow get pushed aside from that post. Whether or not he was, Towns announced today that he's stepping aside as the top committee Democrat.
"After much thought, Chairman Towns today made the decision not to seek the Ranking Member position on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee," his communications director, Jenny Thalheimer Rosenberg, said in a written statement released to reporters Tuesday evening.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (OH), the liberal firebrand whose position in the House may be threatened by redistricting, is running for the post. Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD) is another likely replacement, perhaps even more likely than Kucinich, given that Kucinich has criticized Obama's handling of the war in Afghanistan and has been known to buck the party leadership (like, for instance, when he went against the wishes of Speaker Pelosi to force votes on impeaching President Bush and VP Dick Cheney).
The rumblings about Towns went like this: Some Democrats weren't sure that Towns, who isn't much of a loud, attention-grabbing/generating lawmaker to begin with, wouldn't provide an adequate counterweight to the incoming Republican chairman, Darrell Issa, who will have the ability to make things uncomfortable for the Obama administration with his newfound subpoena power. Again, those were just rumblings, and it remains unconfirmed whether such opinions were actually held by any Democratic members themselves.