Seniority rules for Hoyer.
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Breaking with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) suggested Tuesday that the seniority system should dictate the outcome of the race for top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Hoyer, the House Democratic whip, stopped short of naming a favorite in the contest between Reps. Frank Pallone Jr. (N.J.) and Anna Eshoo (Calif.) for the ranking member position on the powerful House panel.

But the Maryland Democrat made clear he supports the seniority system that traditionally governs committee posts, lending a tacit endorsement to the higher-ranking Pallone.

“I’m not going to get into this publicly, other than to say that I have historically been for the ranking member, the senior member, if that member is capable and able, and if that member has contributed significantly to the legislative product, to the party’s efforts,” Hoyer told reporters in the Capitol.

“I think Frank Pallone has done all those,” he added, “but I’m not going to get into it further than that.”

Hoyer’s comments came a few days after Pelosi surprised Capitol Hill by publicly endorsing Eshoo for the ranking member spot.