When we reported last year that Idaho ranked dead last among the states in Congressional delegation power, we couldn't imagine that we could lose even more ground. But we have: Largely because of Larry Craig's fall, we now have a power score in the new Knowlegis/Congress.org rankings of 11.10, lower than the 2007 score of 11.39. Click here, scroll down to see the map, and notice that Idaho and Wyoming - with a score of 12.26 - are is the only states in stark white. (Power is connoted in deepening shades of purple.) Yeah, it's that bad.
Click here see to see individual legislators ranked in order of clout among the 100 senators and 435 House members. Sen. Larry Craig predictably had the worst year in the wake of his airport bathroom scandal, with a ranking that plunged from 61 in 2007 to 98 in 2008. Despite a year under his belt, Freshman Rep. Bill Sali remains mired at 423, the same place he started and just above his fellow Club for Growth beneficiary Tim Walberg. (The CFG must be so proud!) Even Sen. Mike Crapo had a bad year, falling from 66 to 72. Rep. Mike Simpson was the only Idahoan who moved up, from 318 to 220.
This year's 1st CD candidates jumped right on the news of Sali's continued insignificance, with both Larry Grant and Walt Minnick sending out press releases. "It’s clear that Bill Sali’s term in Congress is a failure," Grant said, recalling a July 2007 interview with the Spokesman-Review in which Sali said he he finds Congress "goofy" and that he found the legislative process confusing. "Congressman Sali has been so focused on his own personal, divisive agenda that he’s utterly failed to be an effective voice for Idaho,” said Minnick. "You cannot get things done for Idaho in Congress with partisan bickering and name calling. We need a congressman who can work together with all sides to be effective for Idaho."
Could Idaho's ranking go even lower? Well, with a Democratic president taking office next January and stronger Democratic majorities in the 111th Congress, it's certainly possible if we stick with an all-Republican delegation. But if
Craig Grant or Minnick boots Sali from office, we'll start climbing. Even better: Larry LaRocco would enter the Senate with credit for his previous House service, so electing him over Jim Risch could prove a real power boost.