80. Juan Rodriguez
It’s a good bet that at least one person from Ace Smith’s shop will be on this list every year, and this time we’ve got Juan Rodriguez, who is managing the governor’s campaign against the recall. Rodriguez has been with Smith since 2017; Rodriguez was the “R” in SCRB when the firm rebranded from SCN Strategies following Dan Newman’s (No. 90) departure in 2018. This year the company re-rebranded as Bearstar Strategies, after partner Laphonza Butler (the “B” in SCRB) left to join Airbnb, and George Ross and Erica Kwiatkowski Nielsen were elevated to partners. Rodriguez has been around a while: He got hooked on politics while working on a school board election campaign in 2003. He served in various capacities under Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and went to work for then-Attorney General Kamala Harris at the California Department of Justice in 2013. Rodriguez managed Harris’ very successful campaign (a 23 point blowout against former congresswoman Loretta Sanchez) for senate in 2016. Rodriguez was named on Politico Playbook’s Power List of 2019.