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ward heeler (ward HEE-luhr) noun
A low-level political operative who solicits votes and performs chores for his political bosses or political machine. Also called heeler.
[From ward, a subdivision of a city for voting or administrative purposes. Heeler, from the idea of a hanger-on following at the heels of his boss, and also as a reference to his door-to-door canvassing for votes. The term has negative connotations and a ward heeler is generally considered to be an unscrupulous character.]
"He (Pierre Trudeau) ... dispensed patronage like the best ward heeler." Jeffrey Simpson, et al; Pierre Elliott Trudeau; The Globe and Mail (Toronto, Canada); Sep 29, 2000.
"This time around, ward heelers worked their toxic magic in a dozen different ways, from unduly influencing voters to manipulating the final count with bogus votes." Richard S. Dunham, et al; Sleight of Hand at the Polls; BusinessWeek (New York); Nov 27, 2000.
This week's theme: words from politics and elections.
The buck stops here. -Harry Truman, 33rd US president (1884-1972)