By Albert Samaha
By Darwin BondGraham
By Keegan Hamilton
By Anna Merlan
By Anna Merlan
By Tessa Stuart
By Tessa Stuart
By Albert Samaha
Lisa Gable, Virginia: Expert in "brand consultancy" for financial and high-tech firms. Strong fundraiser for Bush in California during the 2000 campaign, when she was Silicon Valley "e-chair" for the ticket. Member of the President's Commission on White House Fellowships, which (in an e-mail sent out far and wide, naturally) she calls "America's most prestigious program for leadership and public service" and notes that they are are handed out on a "strictly non-partisan basis." Also raises funds for other fundraisers: She hosted a fundraising event late last month for Virginia house speaker William J. Howell, the most prolific GOP fundraiser in her adopted state.
Todd Huston, Indiana: Already a Pioneer, he's got the pedigreehis uncle Tom was a counsel in the Nixon White House; his sister, Julie Huston Thomas, works for Dubya. Class of '94 at Indiana University, Todd, director of business operations at Komputrol, unsuccessfully tried to bring Pat Buchanan to campus to counter appearances by the likes of Spike Lee and Angela Davis. Unbowed, back in 2001 he refused to donate to his alma mater because an IU branch in Fort Wayne was putting on a production of Terrence McNally's Corpus Christi. "If they want to have a play like this," Huston told The Indianapolis Star, "they should next put on a play with a true biblical representation of Christ."
John Kelly, Washington: Treasurer of Microsoft's political action committee. Personally donated $100,000 to Bush's 2001 Presidential Inaugural Committee, which raised a total of $28.8 million. Member of Washington state's "magnificent seven" cadre of young GOP strategists.
John Kern, Ohio: Business partner of Mercer Reynolds and (St. Louis Cardinals owner) Bill DeWitt Jr., the Cincinnati duo who helped Dubya get started in the oil business. Reynolds isn't listed as a Ranger, but he's a better fundraiser than any of them, having been termed in the press as Dubya's "$170 million man." Cincy donors have given Bush's 2004 campaign $814,600 so far. Kern's zip code, 45243, has given the most money to Bush outside of New York City.
Craig Kunkle, Indiana: Operations and finance director for the Indiana Republican Party.
Rob Leebern, Georgia: Already a Pioneer, Leebern managed Saxby Chambliss's successful U.S. Senate bid in 2002. (He had been Chambliss's chief of staff when the pol was in the U.S. House.) A year ago, Leebern was hired as a D.C. lobbyist for the Atlanta powerhouse law firm Troutman Sanders, which represents, among many other corporations, energy giant Southern Co. The 500-person law firm has 54 attorneys in D.C., many of them dealing with Southern's numerous regulatory issues. Troutman Sanders was cited as one of Southern Co.'s primary litigators in the National Law Journal's annual listing "Who Defends Corporate America." Troutman Sanders also defended Georgia Power Co. against what the Fulton County Daily Report called "a potential class action by African American workers who claimed that hangman's nooses were hung in their workplaces and that they were harassed and systematically shortchanged in promotions and pay." The suit was dismissed.
Stephen Payne, Texas: A Houston business consultant who already made Pioneer and, as a result, got invited to an August 9 barbecue in Crawford, where he and 350 other bundlers mingled with Bush and his top aides and were herded to the Broken Spoke Ranch, just down the road from Bush's spread.
Don Peay, Utah: Known as the person who "dictates wildlife policy in Utah," Peay heads the politically active, 10,000-member Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife. "Our focus is to grow more critters and have a fair way to divvy them up," he said. A Western Wildlife Conservancy spokesman told The Salt Lake Tribune that Peay bullies his opponents as "wild-eyed environmentalists and extremists." But pro-basketball star Karl Malone, a hunting buddy of Peay's, said, "The day I met him is the day I said, 'He's a leader.' So am I." Malone, a longtime Utah Jazz player now with the Los Angeles Lakers (and a contributor to the Utah GOP), is pondering a run for Utah governor; he's discussed it with Peay. "Governor Ventura he was a wrestler, and he won it," Malone told a reporter. "So why not?"
Bryan Pickens, Texas: Already a Pioneer.
Eric Tanenblatt, Georgia: Among the first 23 Rangers, along with Bill DeWitt Jr. and Chiquita banana boss and former S&L figure Charles Keating partner Carl Lindner. A transplant from Long Island, Tanenblatt is chief of staff for Governor Sonny Perdue, the first Republican to hold that office in more than a century. Raised a Republican, Tanenblatt found his ardor intensified when he ran into a president during a D.C. internship. "I met Ronald Reagan," he recalled for The Los Angeles Times, "and I don't know what it was, but something came over me." Tanenblatt co-chaired Bush's 2000 campaign in Georgia and then worked on Perdue's historic gubernatorial bid last year.
George H. Walker IV, New York: Dubya's second cousin and already a Pioneer, he lives on Greene Street in Soho and, still in his early 30s, is co-head of Goldman, Sachs & Co.'s Hedge Fund Strategies Group, which services wealthy investors. A Phi Beta Kappa grad of the Wharton School, he became a Goldman partner at age 29one of the youngest ever. "I'm very proud of my family, but I don't talk about them," he says. "That's not something that is going to make our clients money."