Dan Robles (NR)
Forget Christie's senior staff; you want to know his body man. Robles is "always with the governor," and cabinet members know a call to Robles can be the easiest path to Christie. "Often the governor is relaying info through Dan," says one insider. "Everybody in the cabinet knows Dan. I bet you 50 people on this list know Dan."
Josh Barbee/David Riley (NR)
The Bernards Inn is known as the "orbit" of the governor's campaign finance committee, where Christie can meet with the likes of Palatucci and Hanson — its owner — on the way home to Mendham. Can you imagine the juicy details the restaurants maîtres d, Barbee and Riley, are privy to?
Eric Shanks (NR)
The Fox Sports co-president and executive producer will decide what location shots 111 million people see during Super Bowl 2014: a lot of Jersey, or the Empire State Building for the umpteenth time. "Networks don't want to cover New Jersey; they want to cover New York," a source says.
Chris Wood (NR)
Most people don't have a National Guard general calling with direct orders to do whatever you need. Wood not only mobilized service members to Sandy-stricken Sea Bright, the restaurant owner also fixed hundreds of meals for residents and volunteers, launched a charity to support borough rebuilding, landed on national news shows and influenced when a state bridge into town would be open during repairs.
Michael Shipp (NR)
The U.S. district court judge is handling the professional sports leagues' challenge to New Jersey's efforts to legalize sports betting. Shipp's decision could be a boon or bust for local casinos and track operators: Illegal sports wagers are estimated to be $380 million annually, if not higher, in the United States.
Michael Van Wagner (NR)
Van Wagner's role in the Business Action Center has put him directly on the front line with executives. A source says he's "in every one of those meetings" when a big company is being courted: "When I needed answers, I called (Linda) Kellner, now Van Wagner … I didn't call the lieutenant governor."
Keith Banks (NR)
Some execs might try to coast as a vice chair of the 2014 Super Bowl Host Committee, seeing it as a way to get tickets. Not Banks, president of Bank of America's private wealth management area, who was named by an insider for doing real work on the committee.
Jeff Vanderbeek (95)
When last seen on the ice, his team enjoyed a deep — and profitable — run to the Stanley Cup finals. When the players were locked out, he refinanced the Devils' debt and took sole control of the team. And when there was no ice at the arena, it had an even hotter ticket: the Rolling Stones.
Deirdre M. Naughton (NR)
Chief Justice Stuart Rabner "really trusts" Naughton, who serves as the Judiciary's representative to the governor's office and the Legislature, and coordinates judicial appointments and reappointments for the courts. It's an important job; the man she replaced in late 2011 was called an "invisible hand" in the courts.
Robert E. Mulcahy III (NR)
He has built a rapport with Lorenzo Langford — not an easy task — and helps mediate for the Christie administration after the governor's public spat with the Atlantic City mayor. As CRDA vice chair, Mulcahy also balances Langford and the construction activities desired by industry, an insider says. "He is close to Jon Hanson, and therefore has credibility," says another. "Bob is critical to getting things through the board."