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Nominate your picks for "The Rising"

One of our favorite features on the Fix is called "The Rising" -- obvious Bruce Springsteen homage -- that aims to highlight some of the lesser known rising stars in politics.

In the past we have profiled the likes of Delaware Gov. Jack Markell (D), Colorado state Sen. Josh Penry (R) and Iowa Republican party chairman Matt Strawn who's all over the national news today as President Barack Obama heads to the Hawkeye State.

Our best ideas for "Rising" profiles typically come from readers. And so, we want to hear from you about what elected official, state party chair or staffer deserves to join our august group. (Speaking of rising staff stars, make sure to read Jason Horowitz's terrific profile of Republican Governors Association executive director Nick Ayers.)

Use the comments section to offer ideas. And, ideally, we'd love to hear the reason for your nomination too. We'll take as many of the suggestions as we can and turn them into "Rising" posts.

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 27, 2010; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Rising  
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After the Cuban Missile Crisis, Jack Kennedy shared a poem with his aides:
"Bull fight critics ranked in rows,
Crowd the enormous plaza full.
But only one there is who knows,
And he's the one who fights the bull."
While other GOP U.S. Senate candidates from CO were waiting on the plaza, Weld County D.A., Ken Buck was visiting all 64 counties in the Centennial State. With 1/4 the resources he won the CO Caucuses on March 16. He is a rising star endorsed by Micelle Malkin, RedState and Senator Jim DeMint of S.C.
There is also a blogsite,, authored by one who goes by Eutychus. The author notes the efforts of Ken Buck and other Reagan Conservatives. It is worth a look.

Posted by: penfold15 | April 29, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

The comments about Washington state AG Rob McKenna? By joining the lawsuit against healthcare reform, he committed political suicide in this blue state. He was elected originally only because his opponent was a strident egotist, and he packaged himself as a moderate. Now showing his true colors as a rabid ideologue, his future is about as up-and-coming as two-time loser Dino Rossi.

The real up-and-comer? State Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, who can't wait for Cong. Jim McDermott to retire. Also, former state House Majority Leader Denny Heck is running for Congress to replace retiring Brian Baird. Heck has lots of political gravitas.

Posted by: maris9 | April 28, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to nominate Michigan Republican Rick Snyder. Snyder was a favorite of mine since around November of last year. He's running for governor of Michigan and was polling at around 3% as early as the beginning of this year. He has alot of wealth to spend on the race and has gotten endorsements of Michigan business community, including the Ford family. He has spent some money on creative commercials and risen in the polls rapidly. He's not doing this against political lightweights, he's running against prominent politicians: longtime US Rep. Peter Hoekstra and 2 term Attorney General Mike Cox. He has risen from a 3% vote on 01/22 to 15% on 03/31, now that is a rapid rise. Hoekstra has 27% and Cox has 21%. Snyder has risen rapidly, and I have saw no new poll since the end of March. If Snyder continues to rise, perhaps Michigan will get a real businessman who understands the economy instead of typical Washington political types and communists which they currently have running the state government. Yes, I mean Granholm. I think Snyder can help to fix the flagging Michigan economy and help put people back to work. I nominate Rick Snyder as a thriving political newcomer.

Posted by: reason5 | April 28, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I would like to make another mention of a rising star. Another "outsider" who is taking Colorado by a grass roots storm!
Dan Maes is running for Governor of Colorado. He is also a man of integrity and discipline. He wants to actually push the power back DOWN to the elected representatives. He wants eliminate executive orders that have burdened the state in the past. He is willing to make the tough budget cuts and honor the tax payer bill of rights! Please check out his website:

Posted by: momrghtofcenter | April 28, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I would like to make another mention of a rising star. Another "outsider" who is taking Colorado by a grass roots storm!
Dan Maes is running for Governor of Colorado. He is also a man of integrity and discipline. He wants to actually push the power back DOWN to the elected representatives. He wants eliminate executive orders that have burdened the state in the past. He is willing to make the tough budget cuts and honor the tax payer bill of rights! Please check out his website:

Posted by: momrghtofcenter | April 28, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Ken Buck, Weld County District Attorney is running for US Senate in Colorado. He is a man of conviction and integrity. He has won the grass roots support over the NRSC "pick". Please check out his website:


Posted by: momrghtofcenter | April 28, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Claire McCaskill.

I know Carl Levin said the "s" word more times than she did, but he's a little old for the Rising. And wasn't she a speaker at the pundit party last week?

Posted by: margaretmeyers | April 28, 2010 6:51 AM | Report abuse

Ohio State Rep. Josh Mandel from the Cleveland area. He's only 30 and is running for State Treasurer. Iraq war vet, Jewish and was president of the student body at The Ohio State University. And he's a record breaking fundraiser. Chris, Check out his campaign finance reports. They're insane!

Posted by: BuckeyeLincoln | April 27, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

How about Senate candidate Mike Lee in Utah? He is currently the front runner to knock of Bob Bennett at the GOP Convention next week.

Posted by: aaron_gabrielson | April 27, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

I suggest you do something on Gov. McDonnell. It's like he's a new man, one we never met before the election. Before the election he was a moderate Republican promising a lot of great new things for Virginia that would really transform the state. Things Independent and Southern Democrat-type voters could feel good about. The Highway plan for one. He was going to move on that right away.
But ever since he was elected he's, he's like a changed guy. The important legislation? The stuff that has to be moved on right away? It's all about carrying weapons in bars and celebrating Our Confederate Heritage. It looks like the dis-owned college thesis stuff.

I think the Fix really needs to inroduce us to this new McDonnell.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | April 27, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Ohio State Representative and candidate for State Treasurer Josh Mandel:

Posted by: pnovak | April 27, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

I would nominate Democratic Gubernatorial nominee from Texas, Bill White. He served two terms as mayor of Houston and now is positioning himself to be a moderate Democrat in the fall election. Republican Gov. Perry has never won by a plurality and will probably lose to White as a result of moderate Republicans not voting and independents supporting White. I am a moderate Republican but will vote for White. If he wins, he will immediately receive national attention due to the clout Texas has in both parties as far as voting influence. He will be a rising star for 2016 or other opportunities.

Posted by: jnorow | April 27, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

I have to "third" the nomination of Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley as a rising star. I'm a Boston resident and voted for Pressley after being really impressed by her during her campaign, particularly since she was running as a first time candidate.

No doubt, she has the MA Democratic Establishment cred, having worked for Joe Kennedy II and John Kerry. But she never fell into those traps on the trail, or since she's been in office.

On the trail, she was unapologetic about being a voice for girls and women (she was the only female candidate out of 15 candidates, and subsequently became the first woman of color ever elected city wide in Boston), working families, and all those struggling to get by. I can't think of any other elected official in America who would talk openly about having a father who was a heroin addict and spent 16 years in jail or about how she's a survivor of sexual assault.

She's honest, principled, compassionate and she really seems to want to do the work for the right reasons. And after just a few months in office, I'm already hearing her name mentioned (and in some press reports too) as a future Mayor or even Congressman (she lives in Steve Lynch's district...hmmmm)

Posted by: drewravin | April 27, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I second Josh Shapiro. Definitely a rising star in PA politics.

Posted by: RIgreenman | April 27, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

From Colorado: Newly appointed R whip (while still in his first term), Iraq war vet and attorney, who has some incredible accomplishments: Mark Waller.

If that doesn't work, I second Rob McKenna from WA

Posted by: Haners | April 27, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Atlanta City Council President - Ceasar Mitchell.

Stephen Black - founder of Impact Alabama a student service initiative and grandson of former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black.

Posted by: stevenlreed | April 27, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

I recommend you feature Adam Kokesh, who is running for Congress in Arizona presently. He's got some interesting ideas and is a really young, motivated, and hard-working individual who definitely has plenty of unique life experience (as a USMC vet). I think he'd make for an interesting article.

Posted by: adellelarue | April 27, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Rob Jesmer, Executive Director (or some other similar title) of the National Republican Senatorial Committee is a "Riser". I would love to see a profile done of him. While his stint with the McCain campaign ended on a sour note, he has proven himself to have an adroit politcal mind, and excellent campaign management skills. He is only in his mid thirties so we will likely hear his name, and see his work, more prominently in years to come.

Posted by: lolson1 | April 27, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a fan of his, but Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli certainly seems to be fast rising. He's a lot like Gov. McDonnel. A darling of the social conservatives, but in an office that gives him across the board credibility.

Posted by: SouthSidePol | April 27, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

In Nebraska, take a look at Speaker of the Legislature, Mike Flood. The 35-year-old rose to the speaker position after just two years in the unicameral. He has been remarkably effective in his position at crafting compromises. Check out this recent profile:

Attorney General Jon Bruning is the safest bet in NE to be a future U.S. Senator or Governor. At just 41, Bruning has built a solid statewide organization and has national fundraising reach. He is the current President of the National Association of Attorneys General. He reminds me of Bill Clinton. Bruning launched a U.S. Senate campaign in 2007 before Hagel announced he was stepping aside and Mike Johanns entered the race.

Posted by: gobigred37 | April 27, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Sorry white men — given our victim politics spoils system, BHO can't represent everyone. In the midst of this phony demagoguery, Comrade Obama promises to "reconnect … young people, African-Americans, Latinos, and women" in an alliance against everyone else to keep the corrosion known as Hope & Change eating away at whatever's left of our country after 2010.

Posted by: Comrade_Zero | April 27, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Kevin McCarthy certainly deserves a profile. He's on the fast track to possibly becoming Speaker one day, and if the Republicans take back the house he could find himself in a pretty big position.

Posted by: SouthernRepub08 | April 27, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I'd just point out that all the people you mentioned as past profiles were men...if you haven't yet, Kamala Harris is worth a profile (or several).

Posted by: comment123 | April 27, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

First woman of color elected ever in history of Boston - check.

Future rising star - check.

Someone to watch - absolutely.

On November 3, 2009, Ayanna Pressley made history when she was elected to an At- Large seat on the Boston City Council. She is the first woman of color elected to the Council in its 100 year history.

Posted by: BostonPol | April 27, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse


I nominate both Mike Johnston, Colorado State Senator (District 33) and Johnny Dupree, Mayor of Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Mike Johnston was successfully able to parlay his connections with the Obama administration (he advised on education issues), his connections in Denver, and his political skills into getting the party faithful to appoint him as the replacement to former President of Colorado Senate Peter Groff once Groff went into the administration. It will be interesting to see if Johnston can hold Denver's most diverse Senate District. Currently, Johnston is shepherding through the Assembly Colorado's most comprehensive education bill that will attach incentives to student performance. He's the real deal.

Johnny Dupree recently announced his candidacy for Governor of Mississippi. Though other Democrats such as Bill Luckett from Clarksdale have entered the campaign, Dupree seems to have an interesting set of factors that may help him: a popular, deeply-religious, African-American mayor, of a (somewhat) major city. If he can tap into and excite Mississippi's 37% black population and hold our conservative dems, he might be cooking with grease. Also, an unsuccessful bid would still give him the kind of name recognition necessary to challenge in Mississippi's 4th Congressional District one day

Posted by: MileHighMississippi | April 27, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

One MN pol to keep an eye on is RT Ryback. While he didn't win the endorsement for Governor, it'll be interesting to see whether he retains his mayor job or moves to Washington. If Kelliher wins the primary, she'll also be one to watch.

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 27, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Newly elected Boston City Councillor Ayanna Pressley.

She is the first woman of color elected to that body, and has hit the ground running tackling teen pregnancy in the city and issues of domestic violence. She is the former state political director for Senator Kerry and an absolute rising star.

Posted by: brooklinemass | April 27, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

SC State Sen. Vincent Sheheen, likely Democratic gubernatorial nominee for 2010.

Posted by: Bluedogs99 | April 27, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Chris Christie

The guy is so underrated as a pol/leader and is just beginning to get buzz:

Posted by: jimmy2004 | April 27, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

PA State Representative Josh Shapiro--he was named the Deputy Speaker of the House in his first or second term after he brokered a groundbreaking leadership deal. Has done a great deal to reform the way the PA State Assembly does business.

Posted by: mindys2000 | April 27, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Strama is my state rep and he is simply the best. I would support him for any office, but the fact that he is a successful entrepreneur and still a hands on businessman makes me doubt his long term political ambition. I think if he wanted CD10 he is the only D who could win it, but I actually doubt he wants to go to DC. He has young kids.
But Mark Strama is as good as they come.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 27, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Nikki Haley, Republican gubernatorial candidate from South Carolina. Could have a bright future in GOP if she wins and be a major player in 2012 presidential sweepstakes.

Posted by: aaronguerrero87 | April 27, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I would still like to see more on New Mexico State Land Commissioner candidate Bob Cornelius. I met him at the 2008 RNC National Convention in Minnesota and knew at that point that he would be a leader in our GOP. Take a look for yourself. His website is

Posted by: rooseveltrepublican | April 27, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

How about Mick Mulvaney in South Carolina? He's only been in the state legislature for a short time but he is whip smart (Georgetown, UNC Law) and he's a serious challenge to John Spratt. Definitely a potential star if he's elected. Another good one to profile would be Paul Ryan. I know everybody has heard of the guy but he's one of the smartest guys in the room on the Republican side, regardless of whether or not you agree with him.

Posted by: robbinsjoh | April 27, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Vincent Rongione, congressional campaign manager in PA

- Very bright young guy, great political instincts & definitely going places in national politics

- managed Chris Carney's 14 point win in a Republican-majority district, PA-10 in 2008

- led Carney's finance team in 06, raising an unheard-of amount for a Democratic challenger in Northeastern PA and leading to the largest vote shift in any congressional district in the country from 04 to 06

-now managing Bryan Lentz for Congress, in PA-7

Named one of Pennsylvania's Top Ten Most Effective Legislative and Campaign Staffers by The Morning Call's Capitol Ideas:

Posted by: griffbine | April 27, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Pennsylvania State Senator Anthony Hardy Williams, currently running for the democratic nomination for governor and founder of the Philadelphia Illegal Gun Violence Task Force legislation. An innovative thinker, Williams has taken uncompromising stands on education, jobs creation, and quality of life issues in PA. Can't wait to see him as governor!

Posted by: ElectricKite | April 27, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Rob McKenna, Washington State AG. He has been positioning himself for a governors run. He is young and smart and could go far.

Posted by: caseyb0921 | April 27, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

I already mentioned Sheldon Whitehouse previously....

Posted by: Bondosan | April 27, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Newark Mayor Cory Booker! Smartest yet humblest guy around.

Posted by: CriticalThinker4 | April 27, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Michigan Speaker of the House Andy Dillon

Posted by: Chuck30 | April 27, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse



Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | April 27, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Texas Dem State Reps. Rafael Anchia, Patrick Rose, and Mark Strama. All are clearly going places. The Economist put Anchia on the short list of potentially the first Latino POTUS.

Posted by: CCDMembership | April 27, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I would like to see an article about the Udalls. They may have risen already but everything I have heard is that they are definitly making their mark in the Senate.

You could also do one on the guy from Britain who killed it in the PM debate the other day.

Posted by: AndyR3 | April 27, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

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