WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Capital Comment -- Daily news notes, political rumors and important events that shape politics and public policy in Washington and the world from United Press International.
Democrats continue to experience problems in the South as the defection of local elected officials to the GOP continues. The latest Democrat to switch is Alabama state Rep. Johnny Ford, the former mayor of Tuskegee, who announced Thursday he would cross the aisle and become a Republican. Ford, a five-year legislative veteran, becomes the first black Republican in the state house since reconstruction. Though the Democrats continue to hold a sizeable 63 to 42 majority in the chamber, state GOP Chairman Marty Connors says the move is encouraging.
"Finally, what pushed him across the aisle were the personal efforts of Gov.-elect Bob Riley. It's huge news for us. A marathon starts with the first step but it still clearly indicates that the party is changing and we really are broadening our appeal to the black community." Connors says he suspects that several more switches may be in the works. "The GOP is clearly now the governing party in Alabama and there are a lot of people who are waking up to that fact. Things are trending our way."
This invitation will self-destruct in five seconds...
The Capital Athletic Foundation, a Washington-area charity fostering character development by promoting the American ideals of sportsmanship in all endeavors, is holding an "Interactive Spy Game" fundraiser on March 26.
The game, being held in honor of AOL Founding Chairman James V. Kinney, will consist of 12 teams of 10 players each vying for prizes totaling up to $50,000 including trips to Scotland with guaranteed tee times at the famed St. Andrews golf course, Armani and Coach products, and, of course, cash.
The writer of the "Lord of the Rings" video game created the game, which begins at 7 p.m. at the International Spy Museum. Clues will be provided throughout and the one team that uses those clues to solve the mystery will win the game and all the prizes. To enter, teams must raise $25,000 total per team with all proceeds going to the non-profit Capital Athletic Foundation.
New faces in the House...
A new Congress means new committee assignments. Though the House Republican Conference must approve the appointments, the new members on the majority side of the committees are:
Armed Services: Reps. Jeff Miller, R-Fla.; Joe Wilson, R-S.C.; Frank LoBiando, R-N.J.; Tom Cole, R-Okla.; Jeb Bradley, R-N.H.; Rob Bishop, R-Utah; Michael Turner, R-Ohio; John Kline, R-Minn.; Candice Miller, R-Mich.; Phil Gingrey, R-Ga.; Mike Rogers, R-Ala.; and Trent Franks, R-Ariz.
Education and the Workforce: Reps. Joe Wilson, R-S.C.; Tom Cole, R-Okla.; Jon Porter, R-Nev.; John Kline, R-Minn.; John Carter, R-Texas; Marilyn Musgrave, R-Colo.; Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; with one remaining vacancy on the majority side.
Financial Services: Reps. Mark Kennedy, R-Minn.; Tom Feeney, R-Fla.; Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas; Scott Garrett, R-N.J.; Tim Murphy, R-Pa.; Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Fla.; Katherine Harris, R-Fla.; and Rick Renzi, R-Ariz.
Government Reform: Reps. John Sullivan, R-Okla.; Nathan Deal, R-Ga.; Candice Miller, R-Mich.; Tim Murphy, R-Pa.; Michael Turner, R-Ohio; John Carter, R-Texas; Bill Janklow, R-S.D.; and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.
Judiciary: Reps. Randy Forbes, R-Va.; Steven King, R-Iowa; John Carter, R-Texas; Tom Feeney, R-Fla.; and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.
Resources: Reps. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz.; Tom Cole, R-Okla.; Steven Pearce, R-N.M; Ron Bishop, R-Utah; and Devin Nunes, R-Calif.
Science: Reps. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga.; Rob Bishop, R-Utah; Michael Burgess, R-Texas; Jo Bonner, R-Ala.; with two seats yet to be filled.
Small Business: Reps. John Kline, R-Minn.; Marilyn Musgrave, R-Tenn.; Trent Franks, R-Ariz.; Jim Gerlach, R-Pa.; Jeb Bradley, R-N.H.; and Bob Beauprez, R-Colo.
Transportation and Infrastructure: Reps. John Boozman, R-Ark.; John Sullivan, R-Okla.; Chris Chocola, R-Ind.; Bob Beauprez, R-Colo.; Michael Burgess, R-Texas; Max Burns, R-Ga.; Steven Pearce, R-N.M.; Jim Gerlach, R-Pa.; Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla.; and Jon Porter, R-Nev.
Veterans Affairs: Reps. Jeff Miller, R-Fla.; John Boozman, R-Ark.; Jeb Bradley, R-N.H.; Bob Beauprez, R-Colo.; Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Fla.; and Rick Renzi, R-Ariz.
Ways and Means: Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va.
Seats on the majority side of the House Budget Committee have yet to be filled.
Got an item for Capital Comment? E-mail it to CapComm@UPI.com.