Big Five (California politics)

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This article is about the informal political institution in California. For other uses, see Big Five (disambiguation).

The Big Five is an informal institution of California state government, consisting of the governor, the Assembly speaker, the Assembly minority leader, the Senate president pro tempore, and the Senate minority leader. Members of the Big Five meet in private to negotiate California's state government budget. Because the party caucus leaders in California's legislature also control the party's legislative campaign funds and the majority party leaders control legislative committee and office assignments, the leaders wield tremendous power over their caucus members. They are thus usually able to guarantee their caucus's votes in Big Five meetings. Therefore, if all five members agree to a budget, it will likely pass into law.

Current members

GOP 5[edit]

During budget talks in 2011, five Republican state senators broke with their party and were willing to negotiate with Governor Jerry Brown about placing propositions on the ballot to extend tax increases. The five senators, known as the "GOP 5" as a tribute to the "big 5", were: Tom Berryhill, Sam Blakeslee, Anthony Cannella, Bill Emmerson, and Tom Harman.[1]


  1. ^ Van Oot, Torey (Mar 12, 2011). "Brown's Countdown, Day 62: Inside the 'GOP 5'". Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on March 15, 2011. Retrieved April 2, 2011.