It must have been the tie.
The House Republican Steering Committee, a group of 34 GOP members of the House that includes the party’s leadership there, selected Tuesday a slate of candidates for committee chairmanships in the next Congress, starting in January. Included in that list is Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) as chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. Smith beat out Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and former committee chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) for the chairmanship. The full House Republican membership is expected to approve the slate of committee chairmanships today.
The selection of Smith was not a surprise, as earlier this month he appeared to be the frontrunner in the three-way race. Smith apparently dressed for the occasion: The Hill notes that Smith was “clad in a tie decorated with planets and spaceships for his presentation” to the steering committee.