WASHINGTON – House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus announced Friday that the committee's chief of staff is leaving to run Bachus' re-election campaign.

The departure of Larry Lavender, the committee's chief of staff since Republicans took control of Congress in November 2010, comes near the start of a year when Bachus is expected to give up the committee gavel, regardless of which party wins control of the House this fall.

Lavender is a former chief of staff in Bachus' congressional office. Following Bachus' re-election campaign, he plans to join the Washington office of the law firm Jones Walker, according to a committee press release.

Lavender will be succeeded by Jim Clinger, who has been serving as the committee's Republican chief counsel since 2007.

"Larry and Jim have done exceptional work on the committee, and I'm very pleased that both of them are moving forward in their careers," Bachus said in the press release.

Bachus faces the prospect of a tough re-election fight in Alabama, where a field of five Republicans are challenging him.

Even if Bachus gets re-elected, and the Republicans maintain control of the House, the Financial Services Committee will likely have a new chairman in 2013. Bachus is nearing the end of a six-year term limit as the committee's top Republican.

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