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D-Day was last Saturday, June 6. But for Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, the only Republican left in the state's congressional delegation, "C Day" -- for "Committee"-- is Tuesday.

That's when the Republican steering committee is expected to decide who gets the top Republican spot on the House Armed Services Committee.

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Bartlett, as "Maryland Politics" reported last week, is angling to replace Rep. John McHugh of New York as the ranking Republican on the panel. McHugh is President Barack Obama's pick for Army secretary.

But two other Republicans have emerged as rivals for the post, and it's by no means clear that Bartlett's seniority will be enough to land him the powerful seat at the top of the minority side of House Armed Services.

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Rep. Mac Thornberry of Texas and Rep. Buck McKeon of California also have their sights on the job.

The senior seat on the panel brings with it a number of perks, including the right to decide who gets to sit on which subcommittee and who gets some key staff jobs. It also makes the holder of that chair a leading Republican voice in opposition to the Democratic majority, as Politico reports.

McHugh, first elected to Congress the same year (1992) as Bartlett, was the preferred pick of House GOP leaders for the job when the current session began.

The 83-year-old Frederick Republican is already running for another term. The outcome of the tussle for the committee post won't have much impact on that contest (he's considered a shoo-in).

But if he gets aced-out, it would be a very public blow to his status in Congress. At the very least, that would provide his Democratic opponent in 2010 with some useful talking points on the campaign trail.

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