61. Gale Kaufman
The words “campaign strategist” and “Gale Kaufman” are synonymous in Sacramento, and with good reason: She usually wins, and she leaves clients who have a lot of dough – The California Teachers Association, for example – well satisfied. There was a wrinkle this year, however. She was all set to handle one of the biggest battles of the year, the November ballot initiative dealing with MICRA, when a compromise was reached between an array of deep-pocket interests and the measure was yanked from the ballot. That left her in the lurch, but not to worry: She’s also handling the “no” side of another ballot measure – she didn’t say which one – and all’s well. Meanwhile, her campaign consulting firm, Kaufman Strategies (formerly Kaufman Campaigns) is in the fray with assorted IEs and outside labor consultancies. Her campaign victories – for both lawmakers and ballot measures – are too lengthy to detail here, but two stand out: She led the charge to defeat a quartet of ballot measures pushed by Arnold Schwarzenegger during his governorship, and she successfully led Jerry Brown’s budget-balancing initiatives.
Updated Aug. 9, 2022