A Silicon Valley congresswoman is making a play to become ranking member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, even though other Democrats of more or equal seniority might want the job too.
And though Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, probably feared little in seeking re-election a twelfth term this year, her Republican opponent announced Sunday that she’s dropping out of the race.
Eshoo issued a news release Monday noting Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, now the ranking Democrat on Energy and Commerce, announced last week that he’ll retire at the end of this year after 40 years in Congress.
“Since then I have received the encouragement of members of the Committee and the Caucus to seek this position,” Eshoo said. “Today, I am announcing my decision to seek the top slot at Energy and Commerce. I do so with great enthusiasm because it is the ‘Committee of the Future’ and the most dynamic by its jurisdictions. It is key to shaping America’s future, just as my Silicon Valley congressional district is.”
Eshoo, 71, said she’ll be talking with colleagues in coming weeks “to share my vision and hear theirs.”
“We have the depth and the talent to shape policies that will build a strong economy for every American, with an innovative and entrepreneurial approach to advanced research, communications, technology, health care, energy and the environment,” she said. “It is because of this far-reaching opportunity to put America in the best position to compete globally I seek this position.”
But another Energy and Commerce Committee member – Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich. – has been in Congress since 1955 and has chaired the panel before. Now 87, Dingell lost the chairmanship to Waxman in a Democratic caucus vote. Already the longest-serving congressman in U.S. history, he hasn’t said yet whether he’s running for a 31st term in 2014 and wants the chairmanship back.
Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J. – who like Eshoo was elected to the House in 1992 – definitely wants the post as well.
“For over 20 years, I have remained deeply committed to advancing the goals of our great committee on which I have had the honor of serving as the chair or ranking member of three of our six subcommittees,” Pallone said in a news release issued Monday. “As the person tasked with developing the Democratic Caucus’ message on the House Floor, I believe I would be the most effective voice to lead the committee toward a successful future.”
Pallone is playing up his bipartisanship. The committee “will be as active as it has ever been as we address some of the nation’s most pressing issues, which is why having a leader with strong relationships on both sides of the aisle will be crucial to moving forward a meaningful agenda that will improve the health, safety and prosperity of Americans,” he said. “Even in the often divided climate of the last several years, I have worked to find common ground with my colleagues to get things done because I believe that our government can still do good things that will help Americans and make our nation even stronger.
Meanwhile, Wilson Farrar, a Republican from Portola Valley who has been campaigning to unseat Eshoo, sent an e-mail to supporters Sunday announcing that “something quite wonderful precludes me from continuing my campaign for a seat in the U. S. House of Representatives. It is with happiness and some regret that I have chosen to pursue another path.”
Farrar said all campaign contributions will be returned. A report filed to the Federal Election Commission last week showed Farrar raised $1,615 in 2013’s quarter, leaving her campaign with $2,670 cash on hand but a $2,000 debt – money she loaned the campaign from her own pocket.
Eshoo raised almost $178,000 in 2013’s final quarter, leaving her campaign with about $494,700 cash on hand and about $3,276 in debts at the year’s end. No other candidates have raised any money in the 18th Congressional District.