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The Fix’s top 10 rising stars

Here at The Fix, we try to make sure you're ahead of the curve when it comes to future elections -- be they four, six, eight or even 10 years away. Some people don't like that; we love it.

But when it comes to the future of politics, who will be some of the big names? Who are some state legislators and downballot statewide officials that even Fix readers (and, in some cases, Fix writers) don't know but are expected to make some moves in the coming years?

We checked with smart people who follow such politicians closely and came up with The Fix's top 10 rising stars. (Note: This list is hardly exhaustive, and if we missed some, please let us know in the comments section.)

The politicians below are listed in alphabetical order and by party.


Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden: Biden, who returned home Thursday after undergoing a medical procedure in Houston, has a name and a resume tailor-made for moving up to higher office some day. The son of Vice President Biden, the attorney general surprised many Democrats when he declined to run for the Senate in 2010. But at just 44, Biden, who served in Iraq and gave a well-received speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, still has plenty of time to think about his future. And the next time a Senate seat opens up in Delaware, the conversation will begin with his name, as Biden would be a heavy front-runner as a candidate.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris: For many Americans, President Obama's comment earlier this year that Harris is the "best looking attorney general in the country" (he later apologized) may have been the first time they heard about Harris. But in California, she has been on the rise for years. Before being elected attorney general in 2010, Harris was the first female district attorney in the history of San Francisco. Harris, 48, is favored to win reelection in 2014, so 2016 or 2018 look like the most plausible chances for her to move up, possibly to a campaign for governor or Senate.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane: The first woman and first Democrat elected to her position, Kane was a a rising star even before she took office earlier this year. She won more voters in 2012 than Obama and Sen. Bob Casey (D), and made national headlines when she refused to defend the state's same-sex marriage ban in federal court last month. Kane has ruled out a run for governor in 2014, a smart move considering that Rep. Allyson Schwartz, a rising star in her own right, is already in the race. The smart money says that at some point, Kane's name will be in the mix for Senate or governor. But for now, she seems content with her current gig.

Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller: Miller became the youngest secretary of state in the country when he was first elected in 2006. In 2014, he's expected to run for attorney general, which could just be the one of several steps up the ladder for the 37-year old. There remain some questions about whether Miller will get a strong opponent in 2014; Adam Laxalt, the grandson of former senator Paul Laxalt (R-Nev.) who was also recently revealed to be the son of former senator Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), is looking at the race.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed: Shifting demographics in Georgia have made Democrats bullish about their future in the Peach State. And no discussion about the future is complete without Reed, who a former state legislator who was elected by the slimmest of margins in 2009. Since that time, Reed, 44, has built his national profile, and he's one of the Democratic Party's biggest rising African American stars. The 2018 governor's race seems like Reed's best bet to move up. In the meantime, he's cultivating relationships with the national party: The Democratic National Committee is reportedly set to add him to its executive committee Friday.


Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi: Bondi upset the sitting lieutenant governor, Jeff Kottkamp, to win her job in 2010. A telegenic former Fox News legal analyst politician, who has appeared as a guest on Fox News, earned the endorsement of Sarah Palin in her first campaign, she is seeking reelection next year, and assuming she wins, will be one of a few Florida Republicans in line for major statewide office in the coming years. And at 47, her political career is really just getting started.

George P. Bush: The 37-year-old son of former Florida governor Jeb Bush (R) shares a first name with two former presidents. He brings both famous bloodlines and diversity to the GOP ticket as the son of Jeb Bush and his Mexican-American mother. And if any young Bush is likely to lead the “family business” in the coming years, it’s George P. In fact, he’s making his first run in 2014 – for Texas land commissioner. Rest assured that nobody thinks that’s where his political career will end.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted: Following state Treasurer Josh Mandel’s unsuccessful Senate bid in 2012, Husted may be the Ohio GOP’s next big hope. The secretary of state served in the state Senate and as speaker of the state House for four years. He didn’t have a great 2012 election, overseeing some controversy over how the state conducted its elections. But the 45-year-old is still in line for big things, including potentially his party’s next gubernatorial candidate, after Gov. John Kasich (R) is finished.

Iowa Lieutenant Gov. Kim Reynolds: Iowa’s lieutenant governor opted not to run for Senate this year – a decision that disappointed Republicans – but she’s still seen as a rising star in the Iowa GOP and potentially Gov. Terry Branstad’s (R) successor – if he ever retires. Branstad is seeking his sixth, non-consecutive term as governor in 2014. That means the governor’s seat won’t be up until 2018, but Reynolds, 54, could also be in the mix if Sen. Charles Grassley (R) retires in 2016, when he will be in his early 80s.

Oklahoma state House Speaker T.W. Shannon: The 35-year old is not only Oklahoma's first African American speaker of the House, he's also the country's first black Republican state House speaker since Reconstruction. He also happens to be an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation. Oklahoma is a conservative state that will offer plenty of opportunities for upwardly mobile Republicans, and given that Shannon is term-limited in 2018, he'll be looking for that next move pretty soon.

8:01 p.m. Correction: The previous version of this story described Bondi as a former Fox News analyst. She has appeared on the network as a guest, but was not a paid analyst.