Pennsylvania InfluencersBy Alex Roarty and Sean Coit The Pennsylvania Influencers list is made up of the Commonwealth’s top business, legal and civic leaders, whose opinions are respected by peers and elected officials alike. The writers consulted with a wide variety of geographically and politically diverse individu- als who helped identify these 100 people as the “insiders who insiders turn to when in need.” The group is a mix of donors, organizers, confidants and consultants. These are the people whose opinions matter in the Keystone State. Alex Roarty has covered politics in Pennsylvania for a variety of media outlets, including a stint as PolitickerPA’s Harrisburg correspondent. He is currently an editor and staff writer for PoliticsPA, an online publication that focuses on the behind-the-scenes action in Harrisburg and for campaigns statewide. He put together the Republican list. Sean Coit, a graduate of St. Joseph’s University, is an assistant editor and writer for PoliticsPA and has been published in the Philadelphia Inquirer. He put together the Democratic list.
presents... Pennsylvania InfluencersTop 10 RepublicansRob and Chris Gleason Mike LongRob, the Republican state chairman, has an active role in statewide Long is the campaign guru who has helped mastermind Republican domi-races and has done a good job trying to fill leadership void in a party nance in the state Senate in recent years despite the state’s leftward shift.without a sitting governor or U.S. Senator. His brother Chris raises themoney as the party’s finance director. Fred Anton The long time Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association leader fundsBob Asher much of the conservative infrastructure in the state, such as the right-Consummate behind-the-scenes power broker remains the first name of-center think-tank Commonwealth Foundation.people mention when putting together a list like this. Rob BickhartRichard Mellon Scaife A fundraiser extraordinaire, Bickhart is now the national finance directorHis money alone would put him in the top 10, but the editorial perch af- for the Republican National Committee.forded by his conservative Tribune-Review newspaper also makes himone of the most powerful media voices in the state. David Girard-diCarlo The former Ridge and Bush money man turned U.S. Ambassador toJohn Brabender Austria is back in the U.S. and at a new law firm that likes political action.His reach extends beyond Pennsylvania, but he remains the go-toconsultant for many statewide candidates. Brabender was the senior Rick Santorumstrategist for Tom Corbett’s campaign and helped mastermind Tom The former senator can be seen on Fox News and can be read in theRidge’s election victories. Philadelphia Inquirer. While he lost his seat, the voters in Iowa and New Hampshire love him. Presidential rumblings have once again put him in the national spotlight.44 Politics « January 2010
presents... Pennsylvania InfluencersThe Next 40 RepublicansJim Roddey Leslie Gromis Baker John McNichol, Sr. David UrbanA former popular Allegheny Fundraiser and strategist with Powerful Delaware County party Well-respected former SpecterCounty executive and current roots in the Ridge administration, boss chief of staff, gets things done oncounty GOP chair; clout grows as well respected by all both sides of the aisle in D.C.western Pennsylvania continues Alan Novakto vote more conservatively Stan Rapp His firm is a repository of ex-GOP Mark Holman Harrisburg lobbyist at Greenlee staffers (and knowledge) Former Ridge chief of staff andPat Deon Partners is known for strong Department of Homeland Secu-The chairman of the Southeast- House ties Charlie Gerow rity official, still connected in hisern Pennsylvania Transportation GOP media presence, Quantum home stateAuthority and a board member Christine Toretti Communicationson the Pennsylvania Turnpike National committeewoman Todd NyquistCommission Now professionally teamed up Jerry Morgan Newly appointed state GOP with Mike Long, former top Sen-Rob Wonderling Jeff Coleman ate aide Go-to consultant for many base congressional liaisonAffable former state senator, now conservativeshead of the powerful GreaterPhilly Chamber of Commerce Peg Luksik Glen Meakum GOP candidate and important Radio host, active in western anti-abortion activistManny Stamatakis Pennsylvania Republican effortsFormer head of the DelawareRiver Port Authority, remains a Roy Zimmerman Dan Meuser Former Pennsylvania attorneystalwart fundraiser Former Congressional candidate general oversees $8 billion Her- and northeast PA money man shey TrustNick deBenedictisFormer Thornburgh adminis-tration official is still a political Roger Richards R.J. Harris Northwest Pennsylvania mover- Radio voice of central Pennsylva-heavyweight and-shaker nia’s RepublicansTom RidgeFormer governor’s endorse- Charles Snelling Renee Amoree Longtime Lehigh Valley power Deputy chair of Republican statement is still sought-after by most broker partyRepublicans in the state John Templeton, Jr. Vince Galko David James One of select group of Pennsyl- Still Pennsylvania’s inside guy atWealthy philanthropist, donates vania GOP consultants trusted to the RNCto Republican efforts both in stateand nationally run major races Alan Walker Lawrence Tabas Longtime money man isLuke Bernstein Legal counsel’s expertise makes co-finance chair for Corbett’sState GOP executive director who him indispensible in most Repub- campaignruns a tight ship lican effortsChris Bravacos Ken Braithwaite HAP Regional Executive whoConsulting firm Bravo Group is Bernie Comfort “gets” healthcare and can trans-consistent top performer Runs the very successful Anne late its importance to politicos Anstine programBrian Nutt Colin HannaCampaign manager for guberna- Matt Brouilette Former Chester County Com-torial Republican frontrunner Tom CEO of conservative think-tank missioner runs conservative “LetCorbett Commonwealth Foundation, Freedom Ring” organization sought out under Harrisburg’sChris Lilik Capitol domeFounder of grassrootspa.com, Elsie Hillman The grand dame of PennsylvaniaPennsylvania’s Drudge Report Skip Brion “big tent” Republican politics, The all important Chester County remains influential GOP chair January 2010 « Politics 45
presents... Pennsylvania Influencers Top 10 DemocratsDavid L. Cohen Shanin SpecterCohen is first an executive VP at Comcast but is really much more. In A founding partner of Kline Specter, Shanin Specter is one of theNovember, Philadelphia Magazine said Cohen “wears more hats and most successful lawyers in the country and an opinion maker amongwields more power than any Philadelphian in recent history.” Tied to Pennsylvania’s powerful trial lawyers. He is also the closest adviser toRendell, Obama, the University of Pennsylvania, and others, Cohen his father, Sen. Arlen Specter.knows and influences everyone. Bob BradyJohn Estey He’s not on this list as a Member of Congress, but rather as the head ofAn attorney with Ballad Spahr, Estey is Rendell’s former chief of staff the Philadelphia Democratic Party. Little happens in Philadelphia politicsand chairman of the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority. He’s also out without Brady’s knowledge and approval. front for his law school classmate’s campaign for governor (Dan On-orato). Estey’s presence at Ballard Spahr ensures the firm’s continuedinfluence. Alan Kessler Rendell named Kessler finance chair of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, and with good reason. When Democrats need to raise money inNeil Oxman Pennsylvania, Kessler is the first person called. Kessler is the chair-If you’re running a statewide campaign in Pennsylvania, Oxman is the man of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors, and is known as afirst person you call for advice on how to do it. strong advocate for clients.Ken Jarin Mary IsenhourAn attorney at Ballard Spahr, Jarin is also the chief labor negotiator for The Democratic Party executive director is as influential as she is well-the Commonwealth and the city of Philadelphia and a must-know for liked throughout the commonwealth.anyone with political ambitions in Philadelphia or statewide. T.J. RooneyMatt Casey As the Democratic chairman in a state with a Democratic governor,One of the most talented trial lawyers in Pennsylvania at his firm, Ross Democratic state House chamber, two Democratic U.S. senators andFeller Casey, Casey is young, extremely sharp, and connected. Plus, he 12 Democratic U.S. House members, Rooney is a guy who knowsis a very close adviser to his brother, Sen. Bob Casey. everyone.46 Politics « January 2010
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presents... Pennsylvania InfluencersThe Next 40 DemocratsSteve Wojdak Clifford Levine John Saler Michelle SingerHarrisburg’s top lobbyist at Attorney at Thorp Reed & Arm- Lobbyist and chairman of govern- A major Rendell fundraiser, nowWojdak & Associates strong, former chair of Obama for ment and public affairs at Stradley works at Comcast with Cohen President Western Pennsylvania Ronon, whose counsel is soughtMark Aronchik Steering Committee by many including Mayor Nutter Jim BurnAttorney at Hangley Aronchick and Senator Casey Chairman of Allegheny CountySegal & Podlin knows all the right Gregory Rost Democratspeople in Philadelphia Chief of staff for the president of Ken Snyder the University of Pennsylvania is a Former Rendell adviser, well- Pat BrierJef Pollock Philly political veteran connected consultant An attorney at Stevens & Lee, Bri-New York based pollster, Global er is connected with Sen. CaseyStrategy Group Steve Irwin Gerald McHugh and U.S. Rep. John Murtha Partner at Pittsburgh’s Leech Philadelphia attorney at Raynes Rich Sestak Tishman Fuscaldo & Lampl, con- McCarty, powerful within Philadel- Ed MitchellBrother, close advisor to U.S. nected with countless organiza- phia Trial Lawyers Association Edward Mitchell Communica-Rep. Joe Sestak tions in Pittsburgh tions, closely tied to U.S. Rep. Larry Ceisler Paul KanjorskiConnie Williams Gabe Morgan Principal at Ceisler Jubelirer,Former state senator whose Pittsburgh director for the SEIU, whose insight is sought by po- Josh Morrowendorsement matters one of Pennsylvania’s most im- litical insiders and corporations Campaign manager, Tom Knox portant labor representatives across the state for GovenorRon DinicolaFormer Erie congressional candi- John Dougherty Mark Nevins Saul Shorrdate is a key player in northwest IBEW business manager still Partner at Dover Strategy Group, Princpal at Shorr Johnson Mag-Pennsylvania holds sway in Philadelphia campaign expert now working nus, top-tier campaign consultant with Chris DohertyDan Fee Peter Buttenweiser Steve CozenPresident, The Echo Group, Philanthropist, major donor Robert Borski, Jr. Attorney at Cozen & O’Connor,former Rendell spokesman and Influential former congressman, heads one of Pennsylvania’s topcampaign veteran Virginia McGregor founded lobbying firm Borski firms Sister of Scranton Mayor Chris Do- Associates herty, close adviser and strategist Marcel Groen Dick Hayden Montgomery County Democratic Lobbyist at CHH Partners, close Chair to Gov. Rendell and Mayor Nutter Kevin Kinross Joe Brimmeier Campaign Manager for Dan Western Pennsylvania political Onorato, Democratic frontrunner operative, executive director of for Governor Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Larry Platt Brigid Sullivan Publisher of politically insightful Exec. director of Allegheny Philadelphia Magazine, almost ran County Democrats, an up and for Congress in ‘08 comer Al Boscov Murray Ufberg Owner of Boscov’s Department A go-to-guy in the northeast with stores, has a civic and political Rosenn Jenkins & Greenwald sensibility Holly Kinser Adrian King Lobbyist with Wojdak & Associ- Attorney at Ballard Spahr, re- ates, close ties to Rendell and sourceful former Rendell Cabinet Nutter member, said to be “most power- ful PEMA Director ever” Mark Alderman Former Wolf Block chairman, an Bill George attorney at Cozen & O’Connor Pennsylvania AFL-CIO president is an important voice for orga- John Verbanac nized labor Principal at Summa Development, has the ear of Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl48 Politics « January 2010