What Obey’s retirement means to Rothman

The announcement that House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wisconsin.) will not seek re-election to a 19th term means that U.S. Rep. Steven Rothman (D-Fair Lawn) moves up one notch in seniority on the powerful committee.  Rothman is the only New Jersey Democrat on Appropriations.  He is currently 22nd in seniority out of 37 majority members.  Another Democrat ahead of Rothman on the panel, U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-Rhode Island), is also not seeking re-election.  But it appears unlikely that Rothman can advance to the chairmanship someday.

The problem for the 57-year-old Bergen County Democrat is that just eight of the 20 Democrats still ahead of him are more than a decade older than him and except for one or two, all come from safe Democratic districts.  One of the Democrats ahead of him on the seniority list, U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Illinois), is twelve years younger. 

The good news for Rothman is that he really just needs to be in the top thirteen in order to join the extraordinarily powerful College of Cardinals as the chairman of an Appropriations subcommittee.  For Rothman, that seems like an entirely achievable goal.

Democrats ahead of Rothman in seniority:

Norman D. Dicks, Washington, 69
Alan B. Mollohan, West Virginia, 67
Marcy Kaptur, Ohio, 63
Peter J. Visclosky, Indiana, 60
Nita M. Lowey, New York, 72
José E. Serrano, New York, 66
Rosa L. DeLauro, Connecticut, 67
James P. Moran, Virginia, 65
John W. Olver, Massachusetts, 73
Ed Pastor, Arizona, 66
David E. Price, North Carolina, 69
Chet Edwards, Texas, 58
Maurice D. Hinchey, New York, 71
Lucille Roybal-Allard, California, 68
Sam Farr, California, 68
Jesse L. Jackson, Jr., Illinois, 45
Carolyn C. Kilpatrick, Michigan, 64
Allen Boyd, Florida, 64
Chaka Fattah, Pennsylvania, 53

U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-Harding) is the sixth ranking minority member of the House Appropriations Committee, out of 23 Republicans on the panel.  Frelinghuysen, 64, is the Ranking Republican on the Energy and Water Development Subcommittee and second ranking member of the Defense Subcommittee.   If Republicans regain control of the House, Frelinghuysen would almost surely return to the powerful College of Cardinals, of which he was a member from 2003 to 2005.  He is younger than four of the Republicans ahead of him, but his path to the chairmanship, or the Ranking Minority member slot, could be blocked by U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Georgia), who has more seniority and is nine years younger. 

Republicans ahead of Frelinghuysen in seniority:

Jerry Lewis, California, Ranking Member, 75
C.W. Bill Young, Florida, 79
Harold Rogers, Kentucky, 72
Frank R. Wolf, Virginia, 70
Jack Kingston, Georgia, 55

What Obey’s retirement means to Rothman