Not Nancy: Meet the New Most Powerful Californian in Congress

When the Republicans clinched control of the U.S. House of Representatives tonight, California politics shifted south. San Francisco's Nancy Pelosi will no longer be House speaker -- nor will she be the most powerful Californian in Congress.

That title now belongs to Congressman Darrell Issa, who represents northern San Diego County.

What's the source of Issa's power? He is set to take over as chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. That committee offers him a perch to become chief investigator and antagonist of the Obama administration. Issa can make news with his subpoenas. He'll be at the center of the national story.

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The question is: How will Issa do in the spotlight? The last time the spotlight found him was during the 2003 recall of Gov. Gray Davis. Issa was the biggest funder of the signature gathering effort to qualify the recall. He sought to run to replace Davis as governor, but his campaign imploded. He's also well known for using his fortune (from car alarms) to advance his political priorities. Look for that history to be revisited as Democrats fight back against his investigations.

As a primer on Issa, check out this 2003 profile from the LA Times.

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