“Power is a lot like real estate,” says Rep. Francis Underwood in the political drama House of Cards. “It’s all about location, location, location. The closer you are to the source, the higher your property value.”

Underwood is a fictional character, but in the real world of politics his words often hold true. In New York, proximity to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who holds the state’s highest elected office, can serve as an indicator of political clout. Nearly a dozen people on this year’s list owe their jobs directly to the governor, and many others are highly ranked largely because of their connections to him or to other state power brokers. Even those who have earned election to a high level office generally owe their position to key patrons and mentors who helped them climb the rungs of power. Cuomo himself grew up with a father who was governor, after all.

However, simply being close to a powerful figure does not always mean that one is powerful as a result. Dozens of state commissioners and agency heads are nowhere to be found on this list. Sandra Lee, the governor’s longtime girlfriend, did not make the cut, and Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy just squeezed on to it for a second consecutive year at No. 100.

As Rep. Underwood notes in a later episode, “Proximity to power deludes some into thinking they wield it.”

To give our readers an accurate portrayal of who really holds sway in Albany politics, City & State presents its second annual Albany Power 100. Of course, any list of this sort is bound to generate criticism and controversy. We acknowledge that our ranking is imperfect—yet it is not arbitrary. Off-the-record conversations with many of the state’s most savvy political insiders helped us arrive at a list that we hope will resound with the people who know the score as well as anyone—our readers.

Governor

1

Andrew Cuomo


Last Year's Rank: 1

Change: No Change

Senate Majority Coalition Co-Leader

2

Dean Skelos


Last Year's Rank: 3

Change: +1

Assembly Speaker

3

Sheldon Silver


Last Year's Rank: 2

Change: -1

U.S. Senator

4

Charles Schumer


Last Year's Rank: 5

Change: +1

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York

5

Preet Bharara


Last Year's Rank: 9

Change: +4

Senate Majority Coalition Co-Leader

6

Jeff Klein


Last Year's Rank: 4

Change: -2

Secretary to the Governor

7

Larry Schwartz


Last Year's Rank: 6

Change: -1

Director of State Operations

8

Howard Glaser


Last Year's Rank: 7

Change: -1

Attorney General

9

Eric Schneiderman


Last Year's Rank: 10

Change: +1

State Comptroller

10

Thomas DiNapoli


Last Year's Rank: 8

Change: -2

U.S. Senator

11

Kirsten Gillibrand


Last Year's Rank: 19

Change: +8

Mayor of the City of New York

12

Bill de Blasio


Last Year's Rank: n/a

Change: New

Chief of Staff and Finance, Senate Republicans

13

Robert Mujica


Last Year's Rank: 13

Change: No Change

Campaign Manager, Cuomo 2014

14

Joseph Percoco


Last Year's Rank: 15

Change: +1

Counsel to the Assembly Speaker

15

James Yates


Last Year's Rank: 14

Change: -1

State Budget Director

16

Robert Megna


Last Year's Rank: 22

Change: +6

Senate Minority Leader

17

Andrea Stewart-Cousins


Last Year's Rank: 18

Change: +1

Chairman, Real Estate Board of New York

18

Rob Speyer


Last Year's Rank: 20

Change: +2

President, 1199 SEIU

19

George Gresham


Last Year's Rank: n/a

Change: New

Senate Deputy Majority Leader

20

Thomas Libous


Last Year's Rank: 10

Change: -10

Assembly Majority Leader

21

Joseph Morelle


Last Year's Rank: 12

Change: -9