86. Paul Mitchell
Paul Mitchell, the vice president of Political Data, Inc., lives at the intersection of politics, data and analysis. It’s a good thing he does, because we – and anyone who pays close attention to California elections – learn a great deal from him about campaigns and what makes us tick as an electorate. Mitchell’s firm markets information – census and precinct voting numbers, for example – to campaigns in both major parties. Over the years, he’s become a go-to person for the media and pollsters who pose the question, “What does this all mean?” In 2015, Mitchell created a political column for Capitol Weekly called “CA120” to unveil the findings of his analyses; it has developed a state and national following among the political cognoscenti, including FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver. He also was one of the first to tap the state’s voter registration file to pose email survey questions to thousands of voters – a move that has been widely duplicated. Mitchell, who is married to Jodi Hicks (No. 37), the head honcho at Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, is an avid cyclist.
Updated Aug. 11, 2020