Best Political Player

It's takes a powerful person to silence big-mouth local GOP hack Jon Fleischman, but during political debates on Rick Reiff's KOCE-TV show, Inside OC, Melahat Rafiei pulls it off. The unapologetically progressive, always-energetic Rafiei, who has served as the director of the Orange County Democratic Party, nowadays runs her own campaign firm. She seems to be mastering the art of grassroots campaigning, and she's not afraid of uphill battles: Her client is Beth Krom, the Irvine city councilwoman challenging incumbent Congressman John Campbell in the Irvine-based, Republican-loaded district.

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