WASHINGTON — Rep. Charles Rangel’s resignation as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee yesterday fueled speculation among muni market participants about who will replace him, with Rep. Richard Neal the favorite of most muni market participants despite the fact that four other committee members have seniority over him.

Though the New York Democrat characterized his departure yesterday as a temporary leave of absence until the ongoing ethics investigations against him are completed, most sources doubt the 79-year-old will return as chairman. A number of significant ethical issues involving Rangel are still under investigation.

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