Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, announced Monday that he will not seek reelection in 2018, becoming the ninth Republican committee chairman to retire since President Trump took office.
“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 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,” he said.
The Hill added:
He follows endangered GOP lawmakers such as Reps. Darrell Issa (Calif.) and Ed Royce (Calif.) in deciding to retire. Frelinghuysen is only in his first term as House Appropriations Committee chairman, a top post that lawmakers traditionally serve in for years.
Democrats need a net gain of 24 seats in this fall’s midterms to win back control of the House.
Frelinghuysen has found himself at odds with the House GOP conference repeatedly over the past year.
After initially opposing a GOP ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill, Frelinghuysen voted for his party’s ObamaCare legislation in May — and then came under criticism from activists in his district.
Frelinghuysen defied his party to vote against the GOP’s tax bill in December, warning that it would lead to tax increases for his constituents and “damage our state’s housing market and business environment.”
Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), chairman of the Republican Study Committee, told The Hill at the time that he had “real problems” with Frelinghuysen voting against the legislation.
“This is a committee chairman who’s going to be pitching some kind of spending thing, and if you can’t get on board and support one of the promises we’ve made to the American people, I have real problems with that,” Walker said.
Democrats are already rallying around the news, hoping to regain the seat in the midterms this year.
“Rep. Frelinghuysen’s retirement opens up a very competitive seat that is moving quickly toward Democrats. With veteran and former federal prosecutor Mikie Sherrill’s strong candidacy, and the abysmal approval ratings of Speaker [Paul] Ryan’s [R-Wis.] Republican Congress, Democrats are confident that this seat will turn blue [in] November,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Evan Lukaske said.