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Despite the renewed political attention the Rockies have garnered the last five years, states in the Intermountain West are still low on clout in the U.S. Congress, according to new ratings from the capitol hill newspaper Roll Call. Our own little Idaho is dead last this year, slipping from 48 to 50. Montana (41), Utah (44) and Wyoming (46) are also all at the bottom. Colorado slipped from 32 to 36 this year and New Mexico dropped 10 points, from 19 to 29. The paper formulated the rankings based on: We give points to each state based on several factors, including: • size of the delegation • number of full committee chairmen and ranking members • number of Members on the most influential committees • top leadership posts • number of Members in the majority party • per capita federal spending received • seniority California, New York, Texas, Michigan and Florida make up the top 5.

Roll Call: Rocky Mountain States Still at Bottom of Congressional Clout List

Despite the renewed political attention the Rockies have garnered the last five years, states in the Intermountain West are still low on clout in the U.S. Congress, according to new ratings from the capitol hill newspaper Roll Call.

Our own little Idaho is dead last this year, slipping from 48 to 50. Montana (41), Utah (44) and Wyoming (46) are also all at the bottom. Colorado slipped from 32 to 36 this year and New Mexico dropped 10 points, from 19 to 29.

The paper formulated the rankings based on:

We give points to each state based on several factors, including:

• size of the delegation
• number of full committee chairmen and ranking members
• number of Members on the most influential committees
• top leadership posts
• number of Members in the majority party
• per capita federal spending received
• seniority, and
• power rating of the opponents.

Wait, that last point has something to do with the NCAA tournament — we think.

California, New York, Texas, Michigan and Florida make up the top 5.

About Courtney Lowery

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7 comments

  1. Well, Courtney, all this is understandable. Take, for instance, your own Montana, whose electorate tossed Conrad Burns out a few years back. I guess they were sick of him doing things like helping to build a new library in Bozeman and otherwise bringing home the bacon, which Baucus and Tester will do anyway now thanks to the breathtaking corruption of the new administration’s stimulus plan. So really, what is your piece actually about?

  2. So why would a state with one house member deserve great clout? NoDak has Kent Conrad, a long serving Democrat. OH, I get it!!!

    Too many Republicans in the West. That old Red state deal. What you really said is that the states with the most metropolitan areas over a million people, and states with the most Democrats have the clout in D.C. now. Duh!

    So where are the problems? Where the banks are. So which districts have caused this country the most problems? Probably Mahoney’s NYC house seat. And Senator Chuckie Schumer is right there with Hillary, who had the good sense to leave that legacy to Chuckie and the new chick. Sort of hard to have any clout when your state has no Fortune 500 headquarters, no mega law firms, no important US Courts. Oregon has a majority House member, Rep Peter DeFazio, who got pulled out of the airport boarding line to get the TSA super inspection. Even he is without clout in dealing with the agency created by the committee he was the ranking member on at its creation. Cloutless.

    How about Alaska? A Washington DC full of Palin haters, and the deposed Stevens gone. The long serving Don Young is out of favor. Alaska has to be suffering. And is. Cold up there. Gripping stories of cold and hardship on the Iditarod Race. Global warming has not reached the Bering Sea. No clout, I guess.

  3. The difference with North Dakota is that both Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad have a lot of seniority. Losing Conrad Burns hit a bit, but Tester being in the majority is super important.

    Honestly, I’m a bit surprised Montana isn’t regarded as having more clout. Max Baucus is arguably the single most powerful member of Congress. Jon Tester for being half-way through a first-term is powerful: Approps Committee, high-profile, well liked.

    Rehberg is in the House and as a Republican, doesn’t have a ton of clout in that majority-driven body. But even he has a seat on the Appropriations Committee, which is a place that the minority can move some stuff.

  4. First, have any of the commentators thus far actually read the Roll Call article? Courtney’s article is just a heads-up to us that Roll Call has updated its power rankings. Second, Bill, Conrad Burns getting tossed by the voters . . . hmmm, what was that crook’s name again (and friend of Conrad)? Oh yeah, Jack Abramoff – but after stripping about $150,000 in campaign donations related to Jack and his clients (and sufficient time passing), Conrad was dropped from the FBI investigation. sure, he brought home the bacon, but its started to smell ripe, so the voters tossed him. Finally, Alaska is still ranked 25 – hardly out in the cold. Sure, Caribou Barbie hurts their credibility but Murkowski is being pragmatic – and did make the approps committee – so they won’t miss ole Uncle Ted for long. Please, go read the Roll Call article Courtney references before spouting off . . .

  5. Colorado during the 50’s & 60’s, elected candidates from both parties, commanding strong national attention due to their credentials within their backgrounds. They also respected those whom elected them as well as each other. Today our only choice’s seem to be big city lawyers from Ivy League schools and huge ego’s…exceeding at nothing other than knowing what’s best for us and always voting with the “herd.” Yet, there are those among us, actually believing we just need to change the fundamentals of the electoral college and “new respect” will be ours!

  6. As a west coaster we some time ago figured out that the world and the US are changing and the politics of our states need to change with them. In Oregon we have only one Republican congressman and haven’t had any other R’s in statewide office for years. Not that the D’s have any corner on good government but they at least know the difference between tomorrow and yesterday. Our neighbors north and south have taken the same road.

    Maybe if the Mountain States, with a few exceptions, were not so identified with hard right land use, energy and personal rights issues and didn’t have those views reflected in their delegations you might be more in tune with the national and international scene and therefore have more of that elusive clout. I mean why would anyone listen to politicians from states like Idaho and Utah on matters concerning a changing world?

  7. I’m not sure I’m buying this. Montana and its neighbors seem to have done fairly well raking in the stimulus dollars. Check this out:

    http://www.propublica.org/special/maps-unemployment-rates-vs-per-capita-infrastructure-spending