Feb. 9, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Hill Clout: California Is Still Golden

Another forced retirement — the electoral defeat of Ted Stevens (Alaska), the longest-serving Senate Republican in history — dropped Alaska’s clout index eight slots, from 17th to 25th.

Other noteworthy drops: Ohio (from 11th to 15th), Louisiana (from 28th to 34th), Colorado (from 32nd to 37th), Oregon (from 35th to 40th) and Delaware (from 45th to 49th). Gainers of significance: Indiana (from 21st to 17th), North Carolina (from 23rd to 19th), Georgia (from 25th to 20th) and Tennessee (from 26th to 21st).

The overall clout list tends to favor big states, but looked at a different way, some small states also pack a legislative wallop. That’s what happens when you calculate clout per Member.

On that list, tiny North Dakota, Alaska, Hawaii, Vermont and South Dakota are at the top. The bottom five: Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Texas and California.

Here again, the outcome of the Franken-Coleman Senate race has very little bearing on Minnesota’s standing. If Franken wins, Minnesota ranks 39th in clout per Member, and if Coleman wins, it ranks 40th.

Here’s a closer look at the 10 states with the most clout:

1. California

1,343 points

Previous rank: 1

Population rank: 1

The Golden State boasts the Speaker and two Senate committee chairmen (and they’re all women), as well as the chairmen of the House Education and Labor, Energy and Commerce, Foreign Affairs and Veterans’ Affairs committees. Lots and lots of people in the state. And lots and lots of Democrats in the House delegation — more Democrats, in fact, than any other state has Members. The Big Enchilada. ’Nuff said.

2. New York

775 points

Previous rank: 2

Population rank: 3

The Empire State barely edged out Texas for the No. 2 spot and was able to hold on by all but obliterating the Republicans in its Congressional delegation. As recently as 2002, New York sent a dozen Republicans to Congress; now there are just three — though a special election on March 31 could produce a fourth.

Luckily for New York, there is no scandal meter diminishing the clout of Members. So Rep. Charlie Rangel (D) is still perched at the top of the Ways and Means Committee. In the House, New York also has the chairmen of the Rules and Small Business committees, and the chairman of the Joint Economic Committee. Then there’s Sen. Charles Schumer (D), a powerhouse in so many ways, who has been handed the gavel of the Rules Committee and remains an integral part of Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) leadership team.

3. Texas

770 points

Previous rank: 3

Population rank: 2

The Lone Star State has a seasoned delegation, but its partisan makeup keeps it a few paces behind more Democratic New York. In other words, there are simply too many Republicans in the delegation — 20 House Republicans to 12 House Democrats, plus two GOP Senators — for the state to hit its potential in a Capitol dominated by Democrats.

House Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D) is the state’s only committee chairman.

But in a sign of how important Texas money is to any Republican hopes of a revival in the upcoming election cycle, Texans helm both GOP Congressional campaign committees — John Cornyn at the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Pete Sessions at the National Republican Congressional Committee.

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