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10 Unelected Illinoisans With the Most Political Clout

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In addition to its lists of influential players in dozens of industries in Illinois and Chicago, Crain's Chicago Business also released a list of the 20 people with the most political clout in the state.

While these prominent political insiders in Illinois do not hold public office, they certainly influence those who do.

1. Eric Adelstein

Title: Co-founder of A|L Media

Influence: Creates multimillion-dollar campaign ads for Democratic candidates and against Republicans at the national and state level.

2. David Axelrod

Title: Director, University of Chicago Institute of Politics

Influence: Axelrod previously served as President Barack Obama's senior advisor and top campaign strategist. He founded AKPD Message and Media, a political and media consulting firm that supports Democratic candidates and progressive causes, and also co-founded the firm's public relations spin-off, ASGK Public Strategies.

4. Guy "Chip" Chipparoni

Title: President and CEO, Res Publica Group

Influence: Chipparoni's Chicago-based strategic communications firm represents and advises the operators of the United Center, Soldier Field and McCormick Place, as well as companies in other industries.

5. Fred Eychaner

Title: CEO, Newsweb

Influence: Eychaner is one of the biggest political donors in the U.S., contributing more than $50 million to Democratic candidates and progressive organizations and causes.

6. Pete Giangreco

Title: Partner, Strategy Group

Influence: Developed the renowned direct-mail campaign for President Obama during the 2012 election. Giangreco represents and advises Democratic candidates from all over the country, including state Rep. Tammy Duckworth in her 2016 U.S. Senate bid against Republican Sen. Mark Kirk.

7. Ron Gidwitz

Title: Managing Partner, GCG Partners

Influence: A key donor and fundraiser for the Illinois Republican Party, Gidwitz is raising money for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's presidential campaign.

8. Ken Griffin

Title: CEO, Citadel

Influence: Griffin contributed more than $13.5 million to Gov. Bruce Rauner during the 2014 governor's race, and he also was one of the top donors to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's reelection campaign earlier this year.

9. Hanah Jubeh

Title: President, P2 Consulting

Influence: Major fundraiser and campaign strategist for Democratic candidates in Chicago and Cook County.

10. Karen Lewis

Title: President, Chicago Teachers Union

Influence: Lewis oversees 28,000 members of CTU and has been a fierce critic of Rahm Emanuel. Before being diagnosed with brain cancer, Lewis had considered running in the 2015 Chicago mayoral race.

Check out 10 more influential power players in Illinois and Chicago politics at Reboot Illinois, including some important business and union names.


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