Bachus, who currently chairs a Financial Services subcommittee, is not assured of assuming the chair of the full committee, but he is one of the leading contenders for the powerful post. His main competitor seems to be Richard Baker (R-LA) with David Dreier (R-CA) and Deborah Pryce (R-OH) as other potential candidates.
The race for chair will take place behind the scenes, but we'll probably be able to see Bachus and the other candidates spreading campaign money around to their GOP colleagues in attempt to win favors and show that they're a team player. The new chairman will ultimately be chosen by the House GOP steering committee, which usually reflects the wishes of the Speaker and the upper echelons of the Republican establishment.
The 1990s saw the Alabama House delegation lose a lot of clout with the retirements of Bill Dickinson and Tom Bevill. The seniority system, which historically worked to Alabama's advantage in the past, served to shut out Alabama's comparatively rookie delegation over the past decade.
But with Spencer Bachus poised to make a serious effort to lead one of the most powerful committees in the House, perhaps Alabama can reclaim some of its lost clout.