Chabot to seek House Judiciary Committee chair

Rep. Steve Chabot, who has been on the House Judiciary Committee for all but two of the last 22 years, says he’s ready to take the gavel for that committee.

Chabot, a Cincinnati Republican who served on the committee when it worked on impeachment proceedings during the Clinton era, said he’ll seek the chairmanship in the next Congress.

The veteran lawmaker - he was first elected in 1994, but did not serve during 2009 and 2010 after losing the 2008 elections - is interested in taking the chair of that committee because of his experience as a practicing attorney and his interest in anti-abortion issues. The committee has oversight of the courts, the Justice Department, and is often involved in issues related to abortion.

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Chabot is now the only Ohio lawmaker serving as a full committee chairman - he is serving as the chairman of the House Small Business Committee - but the Judiciary would be a more prestigious position. From 2001 to 2006, he served as the chairman of the subcommittee on the Constitution. On that subcommittee, Chabot authored the federal ban on partial-birth abortion, which was later challenged in the courts and upheld by the Supreme Court.

If he’s tapped to lead the committee, he would succeed Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican who is stepping down as chair at the end of this Congress. He faces Rep. Doug Collins, a Georgia Republican who signaled his intention to seek the post earlier this year.

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In order to become chair, however, he’ll face two potentially challenging circumstances: House Republicans will have to battle to keep their majority in the 2018 midterms, and Chabot himself faces a potentially scrappy challenge from Democrat Aftab Pureval, the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts, who outraised Chabot by almost half a million last quarter.

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