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Frank Lucas, R-Okla., speaks to reporters as he leaves the House Republican Conference caucus meeting

Lucas jumps into the HFSC gavel race

First in Punchbowl News: Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) is running to be the next top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee.

Lucas told us earlier this year he was considering a run to succeed Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), who is retiring. Lucas — the most senior member of the House’s banking panel — now is making it official.

Here’s what Lucas said in a statement:

There are now four contenders to be the next leader on the GOP side of HFSC. In order of when they joined the fray, that includes Reps. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.), Andy Barr (R-Ky.), French Hill (R-Ark.) and now Lucas.

The Oklahoma Republican’s profile is a clear contrast to his rivals, for better and worse. Lucas isn’t what we’d call a McHenry lieutenant on the Financial Services Committee. He’s not a subcommittee chair either, unlike Huizenga, Barr and Hill.

But Lucas does have substantial committee leadership experience away from the banking panel. He’s currently the chair of the House Science Committee. Lucas also served as the Agriculture Committee chair starting in 2011. His tenure there included passage of the 2014 farm bill, which is always a big deal.

We’ve called Lucas a dark horse candidate for a reason. His competition is stiff, for one. And he’s not typically thought of as a major player in financial policy circles.

But we don’t need to tell you that the leadership politics of the House Republican Conference are extremely unsettled right now. Speaker Mike Johnson is still smarting from another losing rule vote on Wednesday, and a potential motion to vacate awaits.

If the Republican-controlled House descends to a deeper level of chaos in the coming weeks or months, the question of who controls the GOP steering committee will remain open for 2025. That’s an opening a dark horse could fit through — in theory.

We’ll have more to say about Lucas’ pitch in the days ahead.

— Brendan Pedersen

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Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.