A certain type in Washington believes there's a formula for success at the national level and that the main piece of it is money.
Dollars, the thinking goes, allow you to take command of incremental news cycles, and winning those days or weeks adds up to influencing the country's agenda. Money gravitates to power and those with both gain influence.
From our perspective, the acquisition and exertion of influence is harder to quantify than the comparison of quarterly FEC reports. Rather than an equation or a formula, it's more of a recipe. One wherein the measurements aren't standard and the ingredients disappear into the end product.
Influence comes from a combination of personality, media profile, organization, timing, a little luck and, yes, money. But there are different silos of influence in Washington and many competitors vying to climb the ladder in each one.
Based on close to 100 interviews, and our admittedly non-scientific analysis, we've selected 10 individuals in five categories for what we're calling The Influencers 50: Communicators, Disruptors, Campaigners, Enforcers and Activists.
This year's crop of Influencers will be recognized at a gala event in Washington, D.C. on Saturday December 7.
The stage is still being set for the final midterm election of the Obama administration and while it's not easy to predict what will move D.C. several months from now, these 50 leaders are sure to be in the mix.
On the air, online and in the strategy room, these messengers will be out front for their parties in 2014.
The tech world's foot soldiers who are changing the political landscape inside the Beltway and around the country.
Kristen Soltis Anderson
In the trenches or on the airwaves, many of these folks will be directing traffic for campaigns and outside groups in 2014.
Craig T. Smith
The campaign finance attorneys, lobbyists and watchdogs whose causes will shape the outcome of 2014 and beyond.
The issue advocates driving the think tanks and activist groups who will shape the next election cycle.
Jenny Beth Martin
Maria Teresa Kumar