For nearly five years, California reigned supreme in the U.S. House of Representatives, with the speaker’s gavel passing uninterrupted across party lines from Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) to Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield).
The nation’s most populous state enjoyed years of strength in Washington, where long-serving Californians held plum committee assignments, wielded vast influence and dispensed sage advice to less-experienced lawmakers. But a slew of House retirements in recent years and the death of Sen. Dianne Feinstein have chipped away at California’s Capitol Hill clout.
Amid a wider exodus from a Republican-controlled House paralyzed by partisanship, seven of California’s 52 members of Congress announced they would give up their seats. Senior or high-profile members including McCarthy, Reps. Grace Napolitano (D-Norwalk), Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank), Anna Eshoo (D-Menlo Park), Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) and Katie Porter (D-Irvine) all plan to leave the House.
Porter, Lee and Schiff are running for Feinstein’s Senate seat, making it all but certain that at least one of them will remain in Congress next cycle, albeit in the upper chamber.