26. Gale Kaufman
Election year or not, campaign strategist Gale Kaufman is busy. She’s either in the midst of a big political battle or getting ready for one, and this year is no exception. She had been girding for November ballot fights on two major issues — internet privacy and the soft-drink tax — but both wound up not going before voters. Meanwhile, she’s been busy doing independent expenditure committees for Democrats Gavin Newsom, who is running for governor, and Tony Thurmond, who is running for superintendent of public instruction. She’ll do more IEs too, but isn’t ready to disclose them yet. But first and foremost, Kaufman is the attack general for the still-powerful California Teachers Association, and that makes her one of the state’s premier political consultants. She handles business clients too — she was ready to take the “no” side in the privacy battle — but her historic importance is protector of labor and the CTA at the ballot box for the past two decades. Over the years she’s handled more than 100 state Senate and Assembly campaigns.
Updated Aug. 15, 2018