Cal Politic

A weblog dedicated to California politics. A thriving democracy depends on an informed body politic.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Power Rankings

Joe, from My Humble Opinion, in a recent comment string, posed the question:

Who are the prominent statewide Democrats?

Since this is Cal Politic, home to all things political in California, I offer up what should become a regular feature here, The California Democratic Power Rankings. This list will be updated as people move up and down the list of top 10 most powerful Democrats in the state based on their ability to influence the Democratic message, agenda, and policy. No federal officeholders will be included here (Sorry Nancy, Dianne, Barbara, Howard, and Henry).

California Democratic Power Rankings
1) John Burton (President Pro Tempore, State Senate)
2) Fabian Nunez (Speaker, State Assembly)
3) Phil Angelides (Treasurer)
4) Bill Lockyer (Attorney General)
5) Gavin Newsome (Mayor, San Francisco)
6) Jerry Brown (Mayor, Oakland)
7) Don Perata, Senate Majority Leader (Will Replace Burton as Senate Pro Tem)
8) Kevin Shelley (Secretary of State)
9) Steve Westley (Controller)
10) Jack O'Connell (Superintendent of Public Instruction)

Other Notables
* Cruz Bustamante, Lt. Governor (Recall disaster blew all political capital)
* John Garamendi, Insurance Commissioner
* Dario Frommer, Assembly Majority Leader (Top Lieutenant of Fabian Nunez)
* Gloria Romero, Senate Majority Caucus Chair
* Marco Firebaugh, Latino Caucus Chair
* Jackie Speier, Senator (maverick Democrat, darling of statewide media)
* Darrell Steinberg, Assembly Budget Chair
* Carole Migden, Board of Equalization Member (to replace John Burton in Senate)


  • At 12:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Kevin Shelley?
    I'm not even sure I spelled his name correctly, and let's be honest, it wouldn't matter one way or the other.

    He should not be on the list. Rationale:

    - Secretary of State is a glorified clerk

    - Most people think he's nuts

    - He's effectively termed out-- never be Governor

  • At 12:22 PM, Blogger Smarty Jones said…

    I agree, I would replace Kevin S. with Miguel Contreras.

  • At 1:03 PM, Blogger Jack Conner said…

    Valid points, esp. putting Miguel Contreras on the list. For those that don't know, he's the political guru of the LA Labor Federation.

    Shelley is on the list now because he's recently found some serious cajones by taking up the hot issue of having a voter-verified paper trail on every electronic voting machine, putting him in the national press almost every day recently.

    I agree though, his star will fade as the issue fades.

    Anyone else I left out?

  • At 2:14 PM, Blogger Joe Shaw said…

    Kevin Shelley deserves to be there.

    On the national stage, he has taken leadership on the problems with electronic voting.

    His actions decertifying some of the electronic voting systems in some counties received nationwide media attention.

    I cannot emphasize how important this issue is.

    We NEED to have a paper record for these things and they need to be secure.

    California's and Kevin Shelley's leadership has led to more people taking a look at this nationwide problem.

    Kudos to Mr. Shelley.

  • At 2:58 PM, Blogger Joe Shaw said…

    Sorry I have comprehension problems. Jack beat me to it.

  • At 7:02 PM, Blogger Pacific John said…

    Tho' Di's not on the list, she carries a lot of clout in the state. Many Dems took her lead at the recall and with the bond.

    My personal favorite, who should be governor on merit alone, is Leon Panetta.

    It's also hard to tell how much clout Garamendi has.

  • At 11:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    OK, can't help it. Shelly is a nut, Burton only speaks for the left-wing faction of the party, Lockyer has issues that will haunt him for some time, Jerry Brown is still "out there" in voter minds, and Steve Westly doesn't know whether he's a Reep, a Dem, or just an ass-kisser. Jacks is way nice, which may work against him in the end. Fabian is untried despite all his efforts and press. Angelides is the only one who is acting like a Dem, but is he electable? I know the Web dude is posing a different query, but the above totally counts when it comes down to the nitty gritty.

  • At 9:44 PM, Blogger Jack Conner said…

    Anonymous, I feel your frustration.

    The California Democratic Power Rankings is defined as a "list of top 10 most powerful Democrats in the state based on their ability to influence the Democratic message, agenda, and policy."

    As anonymous accurately points out, the folks in the top 10 frustrate Democrats all over the state for various reasons. We all say to ourselves... "Why is ______ so damn ________ all the time???!!!!

    Maybe there should be another top 10; not the most powerful, but the most impressive. What should the criteria be?

  • At 11:25 PM, Blogger Rolfyboy6 said…

    This is an interesting discussion starter. Nobody believes this list is graven in stone. Please talk more about the list and the suggested alternates. I'm out here in the Coast Range boonies and there's lots I don't know about. Calif politics is complicated, and up here I have no feel for SoCal politics.

    Secondly,can you guys have an open thread so people like me can ask questions? I just signed up for the blog. I've been watching for a blog like this. Someone on dKos steered me here.

  • At 1:44 PM, Blogger Jack Conner said…

    Done. Look for the open thread to appear shortly.

  • At 9:48 PM, Anonymous Tactical Knives said…

    Power Rankings

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    I have a Chris Reeve Mnandi Fantasy Knives. It pretty much covers
    Chris Reeve Mnandi related stuff.

    Come and check out Chris Reeve Mnandi if you get time, Nice going !


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