Simas, 42, has a special place in the Obama White House. He was one of the polling wizzes who gave the Obama 2012 campaign its brilliant "ground game," resulting in a super-sophisticated election strategy that even Romney campaign officials later admitted had completely outclassed their own operation. For that and other reasons, Simas ended up being one of the very few members of the old Obama "Chicago" crowd to win a second-term appointment. The Taunton, Mass., native, a graduate of Stonehill College and Boston College Law School, is known as a passionate advocate of reform, even using his family's personal tale to try to sell immigration policy. "My American story begins in Portugal in the late 1960s," Simas says in a White House-produced video, talking about the immigration of his parents then and how they taught him that citizenship means "both rights and responsibilities." Yet no one should mistake Simas for a softie. It was Simas who was responsible for the single most effective—and perhaps savage—tactic of the 2012 campaign: turning Mitt Romney's putative strength, his business background, into the negative image of an exploitative, job-exporting Wall Street plutocrat. A former Taunton City Council member and deputy chief of staff to Gov. Deval Patrick who has himself toyed with running for elective office in Massachusetts, Simas will play an increasingly important role going into the 2014 midterm elections.