New House, Senate to Begin Leadership Elections

With Congress back in town, the House and Senate will begin holding elections Thursday to pick the leaders of each party in each chamber.

On Thursday, Senate Republicans -- including new members elected last Tuesday -- will vote for six leadership positions for their new majority, including Senate Majority Leader, Majority Whip, and the Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

On the other side of the Capitol, House Republicans will make their picks for top positions, including for Speaker of the House, House Majority Leader, House Republican Conference Chair and House Republican Policy Chairman.

The secret-ballot elections are held behind closed doors.

Democrats are expected to hold their side’s elections next week.

But for all the talk of discontent from the rank-and-file, the political faces most familiar to Americans likely aren’t going anywhere. House Speaker John Boehner isn’t facing a competitive challenge from his right, and he is expected to emerge from Thursday’s meeting as the Speaker-elect for the next session of Congress (He must be formally voted in by a majority in the full chamber next January.) Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, and Nancy Pelosi are also expected to keep their posts.

Only two GOP races are considered competitive. Sen. Jerry Moran is expected not to seek another term as NRSC chairman, and three members – Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada and Sen.-elect Thom Tillis of North Carolina – have expressed interest in the job. On the House side, the position of Republican Policy Committee Chairman is open after former head Rep. James Lankford’s promotion to the Senate. Competitors in that race are Reps. Luke Messer of Indiana, Rep. Rob Woodall of Georgia and Rep. Tom Reed of New York.

Senators won’t select the top members of individual committees until later this year, or possibly January, because it’s still unknown how large the GOP majority in the upper chamber will be.

But in the United States House, the top GOP positions on as many as 11 committees --- like the powerful House Ways and Means and House Oversight panels -- are up for grabs. Those selections are expected to occur next week.

NBC's Carrie Dann contributed