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New Jersey's Frelinghuysen, chair of key House panel, won't seek re-election

By
Allen Cone
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and a 12-term incumbent from New Jersey, announced Monday he won't seek another term in November. Photo courtesy of Rodney Frelinghuysen/Facebook
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and a 12-term incumbent from New Jersey, announced Monday he won't seek another term in November. Photo courtesy of Rodney Frelinghuysen/Facebook

Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Republican Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, on Monday became the latest congressman to announce he won't seek re-election in November.

Frelinghuysen, who became chairman of the powerful committee last year, is the ninth House committee chairman to opt out of re-election this year.

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"My father reminded me often that we are temporary stewards of the public trust," he said in a statement. "I have sincerely endeavored to earn that trust every day and I thank my constituents and my home state of New Jersey for the honor to serve and I will continue to do so to the best of my abilities through the end of my term."

The 71 year old comes from a prominent family in politics. His father, Peter Frelinghuysen Jr., served in New Jersey's 5th district from 1953 to 1975, representing much of the same area as his son. Rodney Frelinghuysen is the great-great-grandson of Frederick Theodore Frelinghuysen, a U.S. senator for New Jersey and U.S. secretary of state in the administration of former President Chester Arthur.

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"I have worked in a bipartisan manner, not just in times of crisis but always, because I believe it best serves my constituents, my state and our country," Frelinghuysen said Monday.

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Frelinghuysen was a supporter of President Donald Trump, but hasn't been aligned with him on legislation. He initially opposed the Republican-crafted American Health Care Act, but then supported a revised version. In December, he was one of just 12 House Republicans to oppose the sweeping tax overhaul.

Frelinghuysen, a 12-term congressman, had been facing a tough race in his northern New Jersey district. His state chose Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016 by less than 1 percentage point and recent polls have shown the district's well-educated, high-income residents have turned away from Trump.

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"This district has been held by a Republican since the 1980s, and we plan to keep it that way in November," National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Stivers of Ohio said in a statement.

The Democrats need to flip 24 seats in November to win back the House majority.

Last Thursday, Republican Patrick Meehan of Pennsylvania, who settled a sexual harassment complaint brought by a former aide, also announced he won't seek a fifth term.

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Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas, who apologized for his "angry outbursts" in his office and amid claims of sexual harassment, announced in December he won't run again after serving since 2010.

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Earlier this month, Californians Darrell Issa, who joined the House in 2001, and Ed Royce, a member for 25 years, announced they won't run again.

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