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North Dakota, Connecticut Search For Seniority

"Not only have you lost both senior senators, but you lost the House member, and small state delegations are so dependent because their coverage isn't as wide in terms of committees and substance," said Oppenheimer. "I think Connecticut, because it has a little larger delegation, doesn't have quite the same repercussions."

North Dakota Democratic Party executive director Joe Aronson lamented the end to the "Team" as well.


"In 2009, North Dakota received $8.6 billion in federal funding, and most of that was a result of Team North Dakota," said Aronson. "Obviously we had three gentlemen who've been there for almost two decades. So I think that that's tough."

Roy Occhiogrosso, a Connecticut Democratic strategist who is a senior advisor to newly elected Gov. Dan Malloy (D), agreed that the state's larger delegation, with ranging levels of experience in Congress, helps soften the blow. There's no question the state is losing some clout, he conceded, with the Lieberman retirement coming on the heels of Dodd's, but he noted Blumenthal is "certainly not a rookie."

Both states will certainly suffer some loss of influence in the short term. On the other hand, Oppenheimer said, the Senate doesn't have too many "whales" left at this point - with these latest retirements, Iowa will be the only state that has two senators who've been serving since the 1980's - so while the new senior senators will start without clout, they won't necessarily stay that way for long.

"There aren't a lot of giants you have to climb over," he said.

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