New Jersey Dem Wins Top Panel Slot Over Close Pelosi Ally

Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey has won a contested vote to lead House Democrats on a key energy panel, defeating a close ally of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Pallone defeated Rep. Anna Eshoo of California, a Pelosi friend, by a tally of 100 to 90 votes to become the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The election won attention as a proxy fight between Pelosi and some of the powerful California Democrat’s rivals. Pallone had the support of Pelosi’s second-in-command, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.

Pelosi was also accused of denying Rep. Tammy Duckworth, a Pallone supporter, the ability to vote by proxy during the late stages of her pregnancy. Pelosi rebuffed that criticism, saying that the rules of the Democratic caucus do not allow for proxy voting.

Pelosi congratulated Pallone in a statement, saying: "I congratulate Frank Pallone on a hard fought campaign and congratulate Anna Eshoo for raising the issue of innovation to a level that all Members appreciate. We look forward to working with both of these Members as we move forward."

- Carrie Dann contributed