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How Rob Pyers went from laid-off drugstore employee to one of California's campaign finance experts

How Rob Pyers went from laid-off drugstore employee to one of California's campaign finance experts

On an afternoon in mid-December, Rob Pyers notices something amiss. It’s months after the grueling 2016 election, a quiet time when consultants and candidates are taking long-deferred vacations.

But that matters little to Pyers, who sees that hundreds of rows of federal campaign contributions he’s carefully culled and coded have gone missing from the website of the California Target Book, the subscriber-based election guide he helps run. After 10 minutes of furious typing, Pyers is visibly relieved — he’s fixed the database.

Three years ago, Pyers was as far away from politics as one could imagine: a listless...

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