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Who's set to grab headlines in 2013?
From a newly appointed senator to a retired astronaut, political observers w...
Who's set to grab headlines in 2013?
From a newly appointed senator to a retired astronaut, political observers will have plenty of personalities to watch out for in the next year. And with familiar faces reinventing themselves and new potential powerhouses arriving on the scene, expect noteworthy efforts from the following group of politicians, policymakers and media leaders.
Here's POLITICO's list of 13 to watch in 2013. You won't want to miss them:
Rep. Tim Scott is getting a brand new title in 2013: senator. With South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley's appointment of him to succeed Sen. Jim DeMint, the tea party congressman will make history in 2013 as the first African-American senator from the South since Reconstruction and the first black Republican to serve in the Senate in more than three decades. He's not just aiming to make historians rewrite a line in textbooks, however.
"My goal for 2013 is simple: to represent the people of South Carolina to the absolute best of my abilities," he told POLITICO. "My plan to do so revolves around working with my colleagues to ensure we take the right steps forward and restore the American dream. Through smart, sensible decisions like getting our spending under control and reforming our Tax Code, we can ensure that every American has the opportunity to reach their goals."
The 47-year-old senator-to-be will soon find himself representing small-government, tea party conservatism on a much bigger stage than he's ever been on before -- and expect Scott to fully embrace his new role on Capitol Hill.
Mark Kelly may not be a politician -- yet -- but he has a message.
The 48-year-old has long been in the public eye, as the husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and as a NASA astronaut, and 2013 will be no different as he takes a high-profile turn speaking out against gun violence. Kelly may not be an elected official, but he has a major platform nonetheless as someone the public, and the media, turns to on the issue of gun control.
"In the wake of Sandy Hook and the other tragedies that our nation has endured over the last couple of years, Gabby and I remain committed to finding responsible solutions to the challenges that face our country," he told POLITICO in a statement. "We believe that our elected leaders must engage in a thoughtful, deliberate conversation about how to keep our communities safe, and we will do our part to support leaders who stand up and do what is right."
And the couple is certainly not out of the wider political game, launching Gabby PAC in September to support candidates for office who "favor reaching compromise and bipartisan solutions to the challenges we face."
Kelly, meanwhile, hasn't ruled out the possibility of a run for elective office.
But whether he ends up pursuing a traditional, elected political career or never runs for office, Kelly promises to be an outspoken, highly visible advocate on a subject that hits very close to home.
Washington, take note: Marty Baron takes the reins as the executive editor of The Washington Post on Jan. 2.
"The Post is one of the nation's greatest journalistic institutions, with a vital role in politics, national policy, world affairs and its own community," Baron said. "Ambitious, pioneering journalism is its history, and that is its destiny."
There are big changes, and difficulties, ahead for Baron -- the editor of The Boston Globe since 2001 and a veteran at The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and The Miami Herald -- as the financially struggling but legendary paper looks to reinvent itself.
There's talk of a likely paywall in 2013 and expectations of budget and newsroom staff cuts alongside Baron's stated goal of a bigger emphasis on local and investigative reporting. With six Pulitzer Prizes under his leadership at the Globe, the Metro desk's journalistic success and newsroom buyouts and layoffs as he steered the paper to financial stability, Baron's Boston past offers a likely blueprint for his Washington future.
"Dramatic technological transformation now requires that we constantly and thoughtfully assess how we do our important work, apportion our resources and reach the greatest number of people while staying true to our mission and the principles that have long guided us," he said.
From Capitol Hill and the White House to the lobbyists of K Street, D.C. should expect a new era under Baron.
Kamala Harris regularly fends off talk about her political future, but people just keep talking.
Harris, 48, is the attorney general of California, but many Democrats sense her catapulting up the ranks in the party -- and soon.
"As the state's top law enforcement officer, my No. 1 priority is protecting and defending the lives and livelihoods of all Californians," Harris told POLITICO in a statement. "When I took the oath of office, I vowed to find solutions by moving beyond the status quo and doing more preventing and less reacting. I also vowed to do everything in my power to keep the people of California safe from gangs and gun violence, combat mortgage fraud and high tech crime and enforce our environmental laws."
But what's next for the state's first female, African-American and Indian-American attorney general?
Taking over for Eric Holder as U.S. attorney general if he leaves? A possible appointment as the next Supreme Court justice? Maybe a future gubernatorial run?
No matter what, expectations for Harris are high. 2013 could see her biggest political move yet.
Joe Donnelly said it over and over on the campaign trail this year: He will bring "Hoosier common sense" to the Senate.
While his opponent, Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, made news in 2012 with his controversial comment that "even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen," Donnelly grabbed the headlines when they counted, winning Sen. Dick Lugar's seat. Donnelly, a 57-year-old three-term congressman, delivered a seat long held by Republicans to the Democrats, and he's the first Democrat to win statewide office in Indiana since Evan Bayh was elected to his second term in the Senate in 2004.
During Donnelly's congressional career, he has been a member of the moderate and conservative Blue Dog Coalition -- a once powerful group that saw its total membership cut in half in November -- and has notably broken with party leadership on budgetary issues.
In 2013, look for the new senator, who campaigned on his moderate voting record as well as his opposition to abortion and support for gun rights, to be a force in helping the centrist wing of the Democratic Party fight for relevance in the 113th Congress. It's time to see what "Hoosier common sense" really means.
Incoming CNN President Jeff Zucker told reporters just after his appointment that he wants to "broaden the definition of what news is."
In 2013, media watchers and the public will get to see what he means when he takes the reins of the company in January.
With dwindling ratings and stiff competition from the ideologically inclined networks MSNBC and Fox News, Zucker has his work cut out for him as he seeks to repair CNN's brand, attract major new talent and rework the struggling prime-time lineup. The former chief executive of NBCUniversal may not yet be on the job, but CNN has already made waves under his regime by hiring ABC News's Jake Tapper as chief Washington correspondent and anchor of a new weekday program. The new year will also see the debuts of new shows by celebrity chef and travel show host Anthony Bourdain and documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock. And Zucker, who as executive producer of the "Today" show made the program the nation's most-watched morning news show, is eyeing more shake-ups in CNN's future.
As he wrote to staffers in a memo the day after his hiring was announced, "the opportunities are limitless" for CNN. In 2013, tune in to see what he does with his opportunity at the helm.
Elizabeth Warren has landed a plum seat on the Senate banking committee -- and that means financial fireworks in 2013.
Wall Street bet big on Republican Sen. Scott Brown in his 2012 race against Warren and lost. Now, given Warren's high public profile, the banking industry is likely steeling itself as the Massachusetts Democrat looks to fulfill her campaign promise of fighting for greater financial regulation and oversight of Wall Street. And no one expects Warren, 63, to leave her harsh criticism of Wall Street at home when she takes her spot on the committee that oversees the implementation of Dodd-Frank and other banking matters.
While it's not yet clear exactly what issues Warren, a consumer protection advocate and bankruptcy law expert, will push for on the committee, one thing is certain: She's back on the front lines of this battle. Wall Street -- and everyone else -- should take notice.
From tweeting prolifically with constituents to rescuing a woman from a burning building to living for a week on food stamps, Newark Mayor Cory Booker has had a busy year making headlines.
With Booker's announcement that he is exploring a 2014 race for the U.S. Senate, the Democrat opted out of a major 2013 battle against New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and, at the same time, put rampant speculation about his political future to rest. Now that that question about the 43-year-old politician is settled, it's clear there's still much more to see from the high-profile mayor.
"2013 will bring big career decisions for me, to be sure," Booker said. "But it will be a bigger year for Newark, where we're approaching the culmination of years of hard work by members of my administration and the broader community. Next year should see the first structurally balanced budget since the 1990's, the continuation of an unprecedented and transformative development boom, further innovations in education and investments in programs that will help Newark grow and prosper long beyond my time as mayor."
Be sure to keep an eye on him -- and his Twitter feed -- in the coming year.
Actress Ashley Judd has two films set to come out next year -- and possibly a starring role with a run for a Senate seat.
Judd, an eighth-generation Kentuckian, hasn't shut the door on a race that would pit her against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. That's enough to get D.C. watching her in 2013.
She'd be the biggest celebrity to run for Senate since Al Franken in 2008, and in a race that's already set to attract major attention thanks to McConnell's position. Judd, married to three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Dario Franchitti, has built-in name recognition and the ability to raise a lot of cash and energize Democrats in the state and across the country. And even if Judd doesn't jump into the race, she's already established herself in liberal circles as one to watch, making an impact by speaking out on abortion rights, AIDS prevention and environmental protection. But -- if they're being honest -- what political observers really want to see from Judd is some Oscar-worthy drama in a hard-hitting battle versus McConnell.
President Barack Obama's chief congressional liaison is quiet. But when he speaks, those on both sides of the aisle know to listen closely.
As Congress in 2013 looks to be filled with about as much bipartisanship as 2012 (that is, not much), Rob Nabors will keep playing one of the most important roles in the Obama administration. The 41-year-old handles the worlds of policy, Capitol Hill and politics -- all with a relatively low profile -- as he seeks to work with Congress on behalf of the White House. Nabors, whose resume includes stints as majority staff director of the House Appropriations Committee, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget and senior adviser to then-chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, is a familiar face in congressional negotiating rooms and well-known around the Hill for his discretion. Democrats and Republicans alike say they trust him -- a rare thing to be said in politics.
In the next year, look for Nabors to keep making the president's case to Capitol Hill on everything from fiscal issues to immigration to gun control. Quietly.
After making a splash on the national stage in 2012 at the Democratic National Convention, San Antonio Mayor Juli?n Castro's star is on the rise.
While Castro told POLITICO that his focus next year is on his city -- "San Antonio will capitalize on its tremendous momentum as a city on the rise by accelerating job creation and focusing on becoming the most livable city in the United States," he said -- his political future is generating plenty of chatter outside city limits. Some speculate his best bet is a career in Washington, with a possible spot in Obama's Cabinet, while other Texas political insiders say Castro could run for statewide office and find success thanks to the growing Democratic-leaning Latino population.
At 38, he's the youngest mayor of a top 50 city. He made history this year and introduced his face to millions of Americans as the first Latino to deliver the keynote address at the Democratic convention. And while the Harvard-educated mayor has insisted he's happy staying exactly where he is for years to come, it's worth noting he's penning an autobiography set to hit bookshelves in 2014.
It's a story that sounds pretty familiar, doesn't it?
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder likes to call himself "one tough nerd." He'll need to live up to that nickname if he hopes to secure his political future.
Facing reelection in 2014 and with Democrats champing at the bit to get back the governor's mansion, the Republican has a tough year ahead. By signing right-to-work legislation in Michigan, a cradle of the labor movement, Snyder's made himself the main target of unions -- and they are out for revenge. His approval ratings are down in the wake of the controversial decision, and union leaders hope there's an opportunity at hand if they can tap into and maintain that dissatisfaction over the next year. But making Michigan a right-to-work state hasn't been the only thing Snyder's accomplished: The state has the sixth-fastest growing economy in the nation and unemployment keeps dropping, his office notes.
And while he's working toward his reelection, Snyder must also tackle the day-to-day issues that come with governing Michigan. On his plate in 2013 is everything from a controversial abortion bill that would put more regulation on clinics to dealing with Detroit's financial crisis.
There's no doubt this "one tough nerd" will be impossible to ignore in 2013.
Well, this may not be exactly how Rep. Paul Ryan imagined spending 2013.
Instead of vice president, he's still going by congressman. Ryan has been on the low-key side since returning to the grind from the campaign trail, but in this economic climate, the House Budget Committee chairman cannot -- and won't -- lurk in the shadows for long. With countless debates on entitlements, spending and taxes to look forward to in the coming year, the Wisconsin congressman and policy wonk is set to keep leading the way as an intellectual leader for conservatives and fellow Republicans in the House.
And at only 42, he's a well-known brand now. Everyone in America knows his name. In his powerful position in Congress -- and with that clout and national recognition -- 2012 won't mark the last time Ryan's name graces newspaper headlines.