Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., has withdrawn his bid for ranking member on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
His decision to drop out of the race clears a path for the panel's existing No. 2 Democrat, Peter A. DeFazio of Oregon, to take the helm in the 114th Congress. Garamanedi told CQ Roll Call he made the call during an hour-long caucus meeting. He is much lower in rank than DeFazio, and said he hadn't realized he'd be challenging him when he threw his hat into the ring last week. He hadn't meant his bid to be an exercise in challenging the caucus's deference to the seniority system at a time it's under some scrutiny.
"My part of California is known for great wine," Garamendi said. "So I think seniority is like a fine cabernet — it just gets better with age."
DeFazio is currently the ranking member on Natural Resources, but he is bidding to be the senior Democrat on his first love, Transportation and Infrastructure, now that there's an opening with the re-election defeat of Rep. Nick J. Rahall II of West Virginia.
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