Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., D-N.J., was elected the ranking Democrat of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Wednesday, beating out a less-senior challenger who was backed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Pallone defeated Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., in a secret ballot cast by the House of Representatives’ Democratic caucus. Politico reported that the final tally was 100 to 90. Pallone was the third-ranking Democrat on the energy and commerce committee but was in line for the top ranking spot because of retirements. Eschoo, the fifth most senior Democrat on the committee, was bidding to leapfrog Pallone.
She had a staunch ally in Pelosi, who wrote three letters to House Democrats on her behalf. Pelosi’s involvement in the race riled some Democrats who asserted that the caucus should adhere to the seniority system. Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, urged Pelosi earlier this week to honor the system.
‘I congratulate Frank Pallone on a hard-fought campaign and congratulate Anna Eshoo for raising the issue of innovation to a level that all members appreciate,’ Pelosi said in a statement announcing the results of the committee elections. ‘We look forward to working with both of these members as we move forward.’
In addition to Pallone, Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., was elected ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee; Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., as ranking on the House Budget Committee; Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., ranking on the House Financial Services Committee; Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., ranking on the House Rules Committee; and Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., ranking on the House Ways and Means Committee.