• Clevelandish Team

5 Clevelanders Shaping the 2020 Election


Ohio is often nicknamed "the Cradle of Presidents" because it has produced eight U.S. Presidents (not to mention all the others who would not have seen the White House without our electoral college votes). Now, in 2020, we have a new nickname for Ohio's premier city: "the Cradle of Political Pros." The reason? Cleveland has produced at least five of President Trump and Vice President Biden's top advisers. With only three weeks left until election day, here are five Cleveland natives who are helping shape the 2020 election.

Greg Schultz

-Role: General Election Strategist and former Campaign Manager for Biden.

-Impact: Schultz is an experienced political operator who served as the Ohio state director for the Obama campaign in 2012 and then in the White House before leading Biden's campaign to a primary victory in 2020. With a deep knowledge of the midwestern battleground states that swung the 2016 election to Trump, this Clevelander will continue to play a key role for Biden in the final 21 days.

-Cleveland Connection: Born in Parma and is a graduate of North Royalton High School.


Robert Lighthizer

-Role: United States Trade Representative for President Trump.

-Impact: The U.S. Trade Rep is an important position in any administration, but, for a president who ran on renegotiating just about every trade deal, the position takes an outsized role. Lighthizer serves as President Trump's top negotiator and adviser for all international trade agreements (think NAFTA/USMCA and China). As Trump's 2020 campaign focuses on "making China pay" for COVID-19, this Cleveland native's advice to Trump will play a big role.

-Cleveland Connection: Graduate of Gilmour Academy in Gates Mills.


Steve Ricchetti

-Role: Campaign Chairman for Biden.

-Impact: As chairman, Ricchetti serves in one of the most important roles in the campaign. Ricchetti was Biden's Chief of Staff in the White House from 2013-2017 and had a long political career before that position. If Biden wins, we might see this Clevelander as Chief of Staff.

-Cleveland Connection: Grew up in Westlake and is a graduate of Westlake High School.


Ja'Ron Smith

-Role: Deputy Assistant to the President.

-Impact: Smith advises President Trump on urban affairs and criminal justice issues. With police-related killings of African-Americans and a broken legal system as major topics on the trail this year, the President relies on guidance from this Cleveland native to make his case for reelection.

-Cleveland Connection: Born in Cleveland and is a graduate of St. Peter Chanel High School.


Michael Gwin

-Role: Deputy Rapid Response Director for Biden.

-Impact: Rapid response directors constantly monitor news outlets and social media to ensure their campaign responds quickly to attacks from opponents. In all likelihood, Gwin is probably the guy who has to drop everything he is doing (or wake up at 2AM) every time Trump tweets. Imagine that! Already a tough job in any campaign, but in 2020 with Trump, this Clevelander has his work cut out for him.

-Cleveland Connection: Graduate of Hawken School.

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