Believe It or Not, There Were Some Political Winners in 2013

From the de Blasio family—and Dante’s Afro—to Tea Party favorite Rand Paul, these politicos managed to rise above the fray.

Sen. Cory Booker; national security adviser Susan Rice; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
Sen. Cory Booker; national security adviser Susan Rice; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images; Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images; Kena Betancur/Getty Images

Though there were no major elections held this year, 2013 still turned out to be one of the more eventful years in recent political memory. Between the government shutdown and the rollout of the Affordable Care Act there was certainly no shortage of major political news. There were plenty of political losers. (Click here to see our list.) But there were also plenty of winners. Take a look at who qualified for our winners’ circle below.

The de Blasio Family

Just five months ago New York City’s current public advocate was trailing in fourth place in New York City’s Democratic mayoral primary. What a difference a few months can make. Now de Blasio is gearing up to be sworn in as New York City’s next mayor. De Blasio soared on the strength of his strong stance against the city’s racially inflammatory stop-and-frisk policy and his telegenic multiracial family—including his African-American wife, Chirlane McCray, and his son, Dante, who starred in what is widely considered one of the most effective ads in recent political memory. (Dante’s Afro would become nearly as big a celebrity as his father.) De Blasio’s family has been widely covered beyond New York media, in part because they represent America’s multiracial future.

NJ Gov. Chris Christie

Christie has been touted as a rising star in Republican politics for years. But this is the year he seemed to really hit his stride. His recent weight-loss surgery seemed to signal to political watchers that he is serious about running for higher office in the near future, and the political landscape seems ideal for him. Thanks to this year’s government shutdown, Washington insiders are out with voters. Washington outsiders are in, and the loud and proud New Jersey guv loves touting his outsider status, and that is likely to make him a hit with some voters who have had enough with Washington. Polls seem to confirm this. He is the only potential GOP candidate whom surveys indicate could give Hillary Clinton a run for her money in 2016.

The Women of the Senate