The Massachusetts political class ate well during the Obama administration — and has grown nearly giddy at the prospect of faring even better if Hillary Clinton is elected president.
Clinton has decades-deep roots in Massachusetts politics, and scores of loyal friends and allies are now imagining themselves — or their peers — in administration roles. Interviews with more than two dozen business leaders, academics, Democratic elected officials, and operatives revealed a long list of those who could trek to Washington.
Would-be appointees include marquee names like Representative Stephen F. Lynch, a longtime Clinton backer with strong ties to organized labor; Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh; and former Obama and Patrick administration homeland security official Juliette Kayyem.
But there are also lesser-known operatives who have toiled behind the scenes for the Clintons — some since President Bill Clinton's first presidential campaign in 1992.
"This area has been very supportive of her through the ups and downs of her career, not just the election," said John Fish, CEO of Suffolk Construction and chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
Colette Phillips, a public relations and marketing executive, said the Clinton ties are particularly strong among the state's political philanthropists and professionals, dating back to the 1992 Democratic presidential primary.
"I think Bill Clinton has always had a very good cadre of people here in Massachusetts," Phillips said.
When President Clinton needed to rebound from the Monica Lewinsky scandal, he vacationed on Martha's Vineyard and made a public appearance in Worcester. When Hillary Clinton wanted to begin charting her second White House bid, way back in 2013, she turned to top executives from a Boston-based consulting firm, the Dewey Square Group, for the coordinates.
The state's congressional delegation is stocked with Clinton loyalists and potential contenders to shift to the executive branch.
Most frequently mentioned is Lynch, who has mentioned the possibility to several people close to him. If the South Boston Democrat receives the appointment, it would trigger a seismic shift in the state's political landscape, a special election in an urban-suburban district that has seen feisty battles in the past. A Lynch spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment.
Representative Seth Moulton came up frequently in interviews as a potential candidate for a veterans' affairs post, and Representative Katherine Clark has stumped frequently for Clinton.
Walsh, like Lynch a union ally, is also widely discussed, perhaps in a labor or housing and urban development role. But the mayor — who considered backing Vice President Joe Biden before Biden ruled out a bid — said he was not interested. "No, I'm focused on being mayor of the city of Boston," Walsh said. "I'm in my first term; I still have a lot I want to accomplish."
Because Massachusetts, a lopsidedly Democratic state in presidential elections, owes its electoral worth almost exclusively to its function as a cash machine for candidates swinging through, the roster of potential US ambassadors — "ambassadonors" — is lengthy.
But the list of candidates for domestic roles is also long, from longtime business-community pillars to the academic crowd to an up-and-coming crop of thirtysomething political operatives who cut their teeth in Massachusetts campaigns.
Several people mentioned Linda Whitlock, former CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Boston, for a possible role in the health and human services sphere.
Bryan Rafanelli, the event planner who staged Chelsea Clinton's wedding, remains close to the family. Massport CEO Thomas P. Glynn has a longtime friendship with Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
Mass. Competitive Partnership chief executive Dan O'Connell, who worked with Boston2024 and helmed economic development in the Deval Patrick administration, has advised the campaign on infrastructure issues — and his wife, Marilyn, has been a New Hampshire organizing staple.
Cambridge, too, could spin the traditional revolving door of government with a string of figures who have already held federal posts.
Kayyem, who worked in the Obama administration and was public safety and homeland security chief under Patrick before launching a failed 2014 gubernatorial bid, attended a national security powwow with Clinton in September. Nicholas Burns, who has held several top State Department posts, has reportedly been advising the Clinton campaign for months.
The Kennedy School's Institute of Politics director, Maggie Williams, a longtime Clinton hand, has already taken an unpaid leave to join the transition team. Harvard Law professor Nancy Gertner, a former federal judge, has a friendship with Clinton dating to their Yale Law days.
Among the Dewey Square executives who offered Clinton advice in 2013 was Charles A. Baker III, a firm cofounder and veteran of John F. Kerry's 2004 presidential bid. Baker is frequently cited for a potential White House gig, and could wield marked influence over how a Clinton administration is populated — and land Dewey in a key slot among public affairs firms.
There is a younger class of operatives, too, who have been toiling for Clinton. Rebecca Kaiser, chief of staff at Spaulding Rehab, has been handling advance for work the campaign. Senator Elizabeth Warren's state director, Roger Lau, has traveled with former president Clinton to China and remains one of the state's hot political commodities.
Megan Costello, head of Walsh's women's advancement office, has been organizing volunteer trips to swing state New Hampshire. Former Obama White House hand John Bisognano has been running Democrats' coordinated campaign in New Hampshire.
Nikko Mendoza, a former aide to Patrick and to late Boston mayor Thomas M. Menino and a veteran of Boston 2024, is another oft-mentioned candidate. Chelsie Ouellette, another Patrick administration veteran, is overseeing Clinton's field operation in Pennsylvania.
The quadrennial outflow of operatives is nothing new here, political talent from Massachusetts considered a premium in other states. "This is what we do," said Jesse Mermell, president of the Alliance of Business Leadership and Patrick's former communications director. "We're an export state."
For all the Democratic aspirants, another name in circulation belongs to a Massachusetts politico who has long opposed Democrats and, as of this year, is no longer a Republican. He has savaged Trump and last week went on TV to "vouch" for Clinton.
An experienced former government worker whose friendship with Clinton dates back to the 1970s and whose career has taken seemingly whimsical turns at times: the Libertarian candidate for vice president, former governor Bill Weld.