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Samoan delegate angles for top committee slot

If Faleomavaega took the post he would be the first delegate to ever be a rankingmember. [AP Photo]

Eni Faleomavaega doesn’t have a floor vote, but he doesn’t think that should stop him from sitting atop the committee dais.

The delegate from American Samoa submitted a “Dear Colleague” letter on Thursday urging fellow members to support him for the ranking Democrat spot on the Foreign Affairs Committee, reminding them he had “more seniority than any other returning Democratic member.”

Several other Democrats are also vying for the position, but Faleomavaega’s case is unique.

Delegates are not allowed to vote on the floor, and if Faleomavaega took the post he would be the first delegate in the history of Congress to achieve the title of ranking member or chairman.

“I have proudly served on the committee since I was first elected to Congress in 1988, and I now have more seniority than any other returning Democratic member,” he wrote. “Since 2006, I have served as Chairman and now ranking member of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.”

The ranking Democrat slot is being vacated by Rep. Howard Berman, who lost his re-election bid to fellow California Democrat Brad Sherman. Sherman also serves on the committee.

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