The New York Times today tries to make the case that congressional appropriators have lost their local political appeal. There may be some truth in this -- still to be demonstrated at the ballot box -- but the evidence in the article is far from convincing. Carl Hulse notes that four of six members defeated in primary fights so far this year were appropriators. He mentions, but doesn't seem to see it as significant, that three of the four also faced serious ethics issues.
I've long been told, and persuaded, that appropriators are different from Republicans and Democrats. The appropriations committees have long traditions of bipartisan cooperation in sharing the bacon among fellow members. Members of other committees have fewer opportunities to brag about local programs they have won funds for. The outsiders use other arguments -- such as the Arizona Senator and Congressman [McCain and Flake] who are leaders of the anti-earmark forces in Congress. Different strokes for different folks.
Some appropriators may have abused their power, but the voters of many states seem to value seniority and the benefits it provides. This year may be a little different, but so far the evidence is quite murky.