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Virginia
Influencers
T
he once reliably red state of Virginia has developed the hintof a purplish hue and become something of a swing state.The GOP has come back with a vengeance over the last two years, yet in the preceding two decades, Ol’ Virginny became the firststate to select an African American as governor, elected two Demo-cratic chief executives, and helped send Barack Obama to the WhiteHouse. Indeed, the 2008 election marked the first time in forty-four  years that the state awarded its electoral votes to a Democratic presi-dential candidate.While that contest ended one trend, the next year’s election con-tinued another one. Since 1977, Virginia has elected its one-term gov-ernor from the party opposite that of the sitting president. And, due toits unique election cycle—Virginia holds its gubernatorial contests inoff-off years—voters can express their shifting sentiments at the pollsevery year.Here is our list of the most influential political players in Virginia— with no elected officials allowed.
 
42
 
Campaigns & Elections
 
|
  June 2011
V i r g i n i a
Influencers
Top 10
Democrats 
Timothy M. Kaine
The former governor helped Democratstake control of the state Senate in 2007and elect Barack Obama president thefollowing year. Kaine, an attorney andformer Richmond mayor, served aschairman of the national DemocraticParty until early April, when he steppeddown to run for U.S. Senate.
Terry McAuliffe
There’s no question the “Macker” isa player in state politics. The formernational party chairman stumbled in hisfirst bid for office during the Democraticprimary for governor in 2009. But heappears focused on a repeat gubernato-rial run in 2013 and has worked to raisehis profile in Virginia.
Brian Moran
The chairman of the state DemocraticParty since last December, Moran ischarting a path back to prominence afterlosing in the ’09 gubernatorial primary.He previously represented Alexandria inthe state House of Delegates and is seenby some as the heir apparent to his olderbrother Jim’s seat in Congress.
David Mills
The executive director of the VirginiaDemocratic Party has worked in theKaine administration and on several gu-bernatorial campaigns. Mills is marriedto Jennifer McClellan, a rising youngmember of the state House.
C. Richard “Dickie” Cranwell
The chairman of the state DemocraticParty until his retirement last Decemberstill has considerable sway. That comeswith the territory for Cranwell, whospent three decades in the legislatureand helped Democrats score severalkey victories during his five years atopthe party.
Ben Tribbett
Tribbett has been called the Perez Hil-ton of Virginia’s political blogosphere.The left-leaning keyboard cowboy canignite a firestorm with a large typeheadline and exclamation points on hisblog. Although he has a sensationalstreak, the influence of his writing isundeniable.
Mo Elleithee
A founding partner of Hilltop PublicSolutions in Washington, D.C., Elleitheehas been a key consultant to VirginiaDemocrats such as Kaine and U.S. Sen.Mark Warner and is a veteran of severalnational campaigns.
David H. Hallock, Jr.
A former lobbyist, Hallock left the pri-vate sector last fall to become statedirector for Sen. Warner. Hallock previ-ously served as deputy director of policyand deputy counsel for Warner when hewas governor.
Paul Reagan
The chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Jim Webb,Reagan has previously worked for War-ner when he was governor and servedunder several Virginia congressmen.
Peter Brodnitz
A principal at the Benenson Strat-egy Group, Brodnitz is a well-knownDemocratic pollster who has worked forKaine, Webb, and former U.S. Rep TomPerriello, among other clients.
 
 June 2011
|
Campaigns & Elections
43
Top 10
Republicans
Phil Cox
Cox deserves as much credit as any-one for the 2009 election of Gov. BobMcDonnell. The political strategist andconsultant is sought after as an advisorby campaigns outside Virginia and re-mains the governor’s top political man.He is now executive director of the Re-publican Governors Association.
Chris LaCivita
In Virginia, he’s known simply as LaCi-vita. And, while he may be anonymousto much of the public, his work isn’t.LaCivita is a campaign consultant andwas a key media advisor involved in theSwift Boat Veterans for Truth ads at-tacking 2004 Democratic presidentialcandidate John Kerry.
Frank B. Atkinson
The chairman of McGuireWoods Con-sulting in Richmond, Atkinson is apowerful voice within the Virginia GOP.He’s also its resident historian, havingpenned two tomes about state politics.Atkinson is a veteran of the Reaganadministration and worked for then-Gov.George Allen in the mid-90s.
Ed Gillespie
A prominent Republican strategist, Gil-lespie chaired McDonnell’s successfulgubernatorial campaign. He previouslyserved as chairman of the national GOPand as counselor to former PresidentGeorge W. Bush. He is the founder of EdGillespie Strategies, a consulting firm,and helped launch the outside advo-cacy groups American Crossroads andCrossroads GPS.
Pat Mullins
The chairman of the state GOP cantrace his roots in Republican politicsto the early 1970s. Mullins has neverheld public office, but he’s helped electplenty of candidates over the years andhelped restore stability to the party.
George Allen
A former Virginia governor and U.S.senator, Allen’s star lost some lusterduring his failed 2006 Senate re-elec-tion bid. But he’s been rebuilding hisbrand and is running in 2012 with thehope of reclaiming the Senate seat helost to Webb.
Morton C. Blackwell
Blackwell’s political activism goes backdecades and continues today. He isfounder of the Leadership Institute,an Arlington-based operation thattrains conservatives to influence policythrough activism. He also serves as na-tional committeeman for the state GOP.
Ray Allen, Jr.
One half of Marcus & Allen, LLC, aRichmond-based political consultingfirm that has worked on campaigns forU.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor,former Gov. Jim Gilmore, and formerstate Atty. Gen. Jerry Kilgore. Allen hasworked in former Gov. Allen’s adminis-tration (no relation) and for several GOPgroups over the years.
M. Boyd Marcus, Jr.
The other half of the Marcus & Allen,LLC political consulting firm. Marcusserved as chief of staff to former Gov.Gilmore and former Congressman TomBliley. His son Randy is Lt. Gov. Bill Bol-ling’s chief of staff.
 J. Kenneth Klinge
The northern Virginia lobbyist has beenactive in Republican politics for decadesand remains an important voice in theparty as a former executive director ofthe state GOP.

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