Rep. Barry Loudermilk led a Capitol rioter on a tour of House offices the day before the January 6 attack.
Now, he could be next in line to lead the committee that oversees security at the Capitol.
The current most senior Republican, Rep. Rodney Davis, lost his primary to a Trump-backed challenger on Tuesday.
Republican Rep. Barry Loudermilk of Georgia, who led a January 6 rioter on a tour of the Capitol complex the day before the attack, could now be next in line to lead the committee that oversees Capitol security.
That's because Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois, currently the ranking member on the Committee on House Administration, lost his primary to fellow Republican Rep. Mary Miller on Tuesday and Republicans are widely predicted to regain control of the House in 2023. Loudermilk is currently the second-highest ranking Republican on the panel. The committee has jurisdiction over both the Capitol Police and security on the House side of the Capitol complex.
Miller, who recently said that the overturning of Roe v. Wade was a "victory for white life" — a remark her campaign later said was an unintended "mishap" — had the backing of former President Donald Trump and criticized Davis for voting to establish a bipartisan January 6 commission.
Earlier this month, the January 6 committee released footage of Loudermilk leading a tour group through the House office buildings on January 5, 2021. The following day, at least one member of that tour group returned to the grounds of the Capitol, and could be heard yelling violent threats against Democratic lawmakers.
"When I get done with you, you're going to need a shine on top of that bald head," the rally attendee says in the video, referring to Pelosi.
It remains unclear whether the man entered the Capitol building itself. January 6 committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi also noted that the man and other tour attendees took photos of areas in the House office buildings that wouldn't normally be of interest to tourists, including stairwells and tunnels.
Seeking to explain himself the day the footage was released, Loudermilk claimed that the man was simply photographing a golden eagle light fixture on the wall.
"Obviously, I do not support anything he said, but nobody in that group talked or spoke that way," said Loudermilk, referring to the man's violent threats against congressional Democrats.
But Loudermilk's story about the tours has changed a number of times as new information has emerged. He's continually pointed to a letter from Capitol Police to Rep. Davis stating that they didn't consider "any of the activities we observed as suspicious," though they noted that Loudermilk left the tour group unattended at one point.
Though Loudermilk is next in line in terms of seniority, his position atop the committee is not necessarily assured; ultimately, House Republican leadership is in charge of committee assignments for their members.
In a statement to Insider, Loudermilk said he would "have to give serious consideration" to chairing the committee if asked to do so by the next Speaker, but emphasized that his current focus is on "the important work the Republicans are doing on the Committee."
"Rodney Davis has done a tremendous job as the Ranking Republican on the Committee on House Administration. It has been an honor to work under his leadership, and we still have a lot of work to be done this year," said Loudermilk. "Who becomes the chairman of the committee for the 118th Congress will ultimately be the decision of the incoming Speaker."
In 2013, facing criticism for appointing only white men to lead major committees in the House, former Speaker John Boehner appointed then-Rep. Candice Miller to chair the committee, despite the fact that she had not previously served on it.
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