Did you know that George Washington was so rich that he wanted to reject his presidential salary? Wealth has always been a part of American politics, but, recently, political wealth crossed a new milestone (most Congresspeople are millionaires). This map shows the richest politician in every state, and reveals just how rich they really are.
There are 34 states with Republicans as their richest politicians, 15 with Democrats, and one with an Independent. Interestingly, every single one is in Congress. There are no executive branch politicians, including governors, whatsoever.
In many places, the results were predictable. No richest-in-state Democrats can be found in the South, but there is a cluster in New England.
There are a few surprises, though. For instance, the richest politicians in Democratic strongholds California and New York are Republicans. The Midwest is split evenly. And despite being severely outnumbered, there are a few very wealthy Democrats in the top five on this list.
Top 10 Richest Politicians in Each State
1. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) – $330M
2. Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) – $313.6M
3. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) – $238.2M
4. Rep. John K. Delaney (D-MD) – $232.8M
5. Rep. Dave Trott (R-MI) – $177.1M
6. Rep. Vernon Buchanan (R-FL) – $115.5M
7. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) – $81.7M
8. Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) – $75.3M
9. Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) – $66.4M
10. Rep. Thomas MacArthur (R-NJ) – $64M
The 50 politicians on this map are worth just under $2.5B altogether. These ten officials have a cumulative net worth of nearly $1.7B by themselves.
We already know that the gender pay gap is pervasive. This remains true in politics.
Of the 50 highly paid politicians on our visualization, only six are women. We couldn’t find any patterns explaining why these states had such wealthy female politicians. Among the women, there is a 4:2 Republican advantage and they are scattered across all parts of the country, from Hawaii to New England.
The wealthiest among them is Tennessee’s Republican Representative, Diane Black ($75.3M).
Political Wealth vs. General Wealth
While some politicians are very wealthy, not all are. Over 100 members of Congress actually have negative net worths, and a handful are right around zero. (Check out Roll Call’s Wealth of Congress Index for a deep dive into Congressional finances.).
We also found that political wealth pales in comparison to the state-by-state wealth of non-politicians. Nearly every state’s richest person is a billionaire, but no politicians (aside from Donald Trump, who doesn’t represent a single state) have reached that pinnacle.
Editor’s Note: Al Franken, the junior Senator from Minnesota, has announced his resignation, after being accused of sexual misconduct by several women. Until his resignation is official, he remains the wealthiest politician in Minnesota, with a net worth of $7.1M.
Data: Table 1.1