Despite an election that saw a wave of Republicans sweep the GOP into the House majority, when Congress convenes early next January both party's teams figure to closely resemble the current House leadership of the 111th Congress.
House Democrats and Republicans are meeting separately in private sessions today to elect their leaders for the 112th session of Congress. The Democratic Caucus will meet at 10 a.m. while the House Republicans will meet at 1 p.m. to choose their leadership team.
Republicans are almost certain to elect their current top-two leaders to lead the GOP in the next session. House Minority Leader John Boehner is expected to run unopposed as the next Speaker of the Housewhile Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., is expected to be selected as Majority Leader.
The current Deputy Whip, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., stands to move up the GOP ranks to the third-ranking post in the Republican majority as House Majority Whip. Republicans are also expected to choose Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, as the GOP Conference chairman, the party's fourth-ranking post being vacated by Rep. Mike Pence, who is not seeking reelection to the House Republican leadership.
More than 80 new House Republicans will vote to pick two representatives to serve at the GOP leadership table. Rep. Kristi Noem, South Dakota, and Rep. Tim Scott, South Carolina have both expressed interest in the positions and are considered frontrunners for the posts.
Democrats will first elect the Democratic Caucus Chairman, who will then preside over the remainder of the caucus. The current chairman is Rep. John Larson, D-Connecticut, who is expected to be reelected to the post unopposed.
Next, House Democrats will elect the Democratic Leader, also known as minority leader. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-California, surprised many in the caucus by announcing early this month that she was running to remain the House's top Democrat. Although Pelosi is expected to win that election easily, the minority leader post is expected to be the only contended post in the House Democratic leadership election.
Pelosi is being challenged by moderate Blue Dog Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C., who admits the prospect of knocking off Pelosi from the top post are slim.
Shuler told a scrum of reporters Tuesday that he's not working to whip up votes for the post, but decided to run as an alternative choice for moderates.
"I don't count votes," Shuler said. "This is about truly making a difference in our caucus, and moving our caucus in the direction which I think?that 54 percent of Democrats said we should be moving in a different direction."
Despite Big GOP Win, Names of House Leaders Not Expected to Change
A Democratic Caucus aide tells ABC News that the Democratic Caucus will adopt an organizational resolution that, in part, will provide for renaming a leadership post in the Democratic Majority known as Assistant to the Leader to a newly created post for the Democratic Minority, Assistant Leader. The measure will also designate "Assistant Leader" as the third-ranking position in the House Democratic leadership.
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is expected to be nominated for Minority Whip, the Democrats' second-ranking post in the House. Hoyer is not expected to receive any opposition, while Rep. James Clyburn, the current House Majority Whip, will be nominated by Pelosi to serve as the Democrats' first Assistant Leader. Clyburn had initially expressed his intent to run for minority whip, but seems to have backed off after Pelosi brokered a deal with the South Carolina Democrat to retain his rank in the party and stay on as "assistant leader."
Democrats will also elected a caucus vice chairman, and the Democrats' top spot on the House Budget Committee, ranking member. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, has announced his intention to seek that post after serving for four years as the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the past two years serving simultaneously in the Democratic leadership as Assistant to the Speaker.