And another one gone…
Facing what looks to be a tough midterm challenge, New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen announced on Monday that he would be retiring.
Frelinghuysen is a 12-term incumbent, with roots in Congress back to the founding of the nation, but apparently, these new challenges and this new atmosphere of public unrest is just too much to overcome.
Frelinghuysen, 71, became chairman of the House Appropriations Committee last year, a post that made him more beholden to the House Republican leadership at a time his suburban district was the site or regular protests urging him to resist the policies of President Donald Trump.
Frelinghuysen initially opposed the Republican-crafted American Health Care Act, but then supported a revised version even as he said he hoped the Senate would make it better. In December, he opposed the sweeping tax overhaul that was one of the major legislative accomplishments of the GOP Congress and the Trump administration.
So he’s had a hard time keeping up with the shifting tides of Congress.
“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.
“My father reminded me often that we are temporary stewards of the public trust. 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.”
No doubt, Frelinghuysen was in an uphill battle. Several Democrat challengers have come forward and expressed intent to take him out.
While his district, the 11th District is considered Republican leaning, Trump only managed to squeak out the lead over Clinton by half a percentage point in 2016.
And of course, Democrats are in battle mode now. There was no gracious acknowledgment of Frelinghuysen’s announcement from the state’s Democrat party leadership.
“After ducking his constituents for months, Representative Frelinghuysen has now denied them the chance to throw him out,” the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said in a statement. “His retirement comes as no surprise given his community’s disgust with this Republican Congress, which spent nearly all of last year throwing our healthcare system into chaos.”
There’s no word, as yet, on any potential Republican challengers for the soon-to-be-vacant seat, but some are suggesting that this is just one more evacuee of what some see as a ship sinking under a future blue wave.