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Faleomavaega drops bid for top Foreign Affairs spot

American Samoa delegate Eni Faleomavaega is abandoning his long-shot bid to become ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, leaving New York Congressman Eliot Engel poised to take the position.

Since delegates do not have voting privileges on the House floor, Faleomavaega acknowledged he would have a tough time gaining support for the post. Had he won, he would have been the first delegate to serve as a ranking member or chairman of a full committee.

“After much consideration and having succeeded in establishing a precedent whereby future Delegates may run for the position of Ranking Member or Chairman of a full Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, I am withdrawing from the race and joining with other Democratic members of the Foreign Affairs Committee in fully supporting Congressman Eliot Engel’s bid,” he wrote.

The race for the position has been fairly dramatic. Rep. Brad Sherman had initially entered the race to take the spot of Rep. Howard Berman, who Sherman beat in a contentious election. During the election, a pro-Sherman super PAC sent out a mailer that many in the Democratic caucus found offensive. It included pictures of Berman, Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). Its message was designed to attract Republicans and independent voters: “Maxine Waters, Barney Frank and Barbara Boxer all want you to vote for Howard Berman.”

Sherman apologized, but withdrew his bid for the ranking member position, leaving Engel and Faleomavaega in the running.



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