During his considerable political work Ben Nuckels has interacted with a number of major figures. He’s pictured here with former President Bill Clinton.
During his considerable political work Ben Nuckels has interacted with a number of major figures. He’s pictured here with former President Bill Clinton.
Friday, June 24, 2011

Campaigns & Elections magazine this month named  Carroll High School alum Ben Nuckels as one of its 2011 Rising Stars —  one of the most prestigious honors in politics.

The award goes to a select group of operatives age 35 and under who have an established track record of achievement in political consulting or advocacy and the promise to achieve greatness.

Nuckels, 32, a vice president at Joe Slade White & Company, is a son of Steve and Marsha Nuckels of Carroll. Ben Nuckels lives in Oconomowoc, Wis., between Madison and Milwaukee.

“After taking over as campaign manager for Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn in May 2010, he helped turn around a dysfunctional operation and lead the governor to a narrow victory,” Campaigns & Elections magazine reported.

Quinn won election to office in his own right after ascending to the top spot in Springfield, Ill., following former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s much-publicized troubles. Quinn captured the office with the narrowest margin for a gubernatorial race in Illinois in three decades, 46.6 percent to 46.1 percent or by about 20,000 votes.

The magazine has selected 15 Republicans, 15 Democrats, and 10 nonpartisan or international operatives for the Rising Stars awards.

“The caliber of this year’s nominees was incredibly high, and choosing the winners was a real challenge,” said Shane Greer, publisher of Campaigns & Elections. “To make this list is an honor, but to be the custodians of the list is an honor that all of us at C&E recognize and feel humbled by.”

Rising Stars were first recognized in 1988 and have gone on to serve in the highest levels of government and political consulting. Past honorees include David Axelrod, Donna Brazile, James Carville, Alex Castellanos, Rahm Emanuel, Ben Ginsberg, Ed Goeas, Mike Murphy, Bill McInturff and George Stephanopoulos.

The 2011 Rising Stars were honored on June 17 at an event during an annual training seminar, The Art of Political Campaigning.

A 1997 graduate of Carroll High School, Nuckels went on to earn his degree in business at Governors State University in Chicago. He then worked for the 2004 Iowa presidential campaign of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. He also did Wisconsin field work for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in the general election, and then served as the Midwest campaign manager for The League of Conservation Voters.

His Wisconsin experience led to a position as chief of staff to that state’s lieutenant governor, Barbara Lawton, a spot Nuckels held from 2007 to May 2010.