KINNEY, Stephen M.
1944 - 2013
Long-time California-based political strategist and consultant Stephen (Steve) Kinney passed away on May 19, 2013 at his home in Redondo Beach after a 16 year battle with prostate cancer. Steve was a well-known and frequently tapped expert in national, state and local political strategy, campaign polling and other research related to voter trends and public opinion.
Steve worked in western politics for nearly 40 years, most recently serving as a West Coast partner of Public Opinion Strategies, one of the nation's premier political and public affairs survey research firms. Prior to joining Public Opinion Strategies in 1999, Steve was a pollster with Portland-based Moore Information and a Republican National Committee regional political director.
Steve's clients were a who's who of California politics, including Governor George Deukmejian, Governor Pete Wilson, State Treasurer Matt Fong, and many others. He worked extensively with state candidates, legislative candidates, and statewide/local initiative campaigns. He conducted research in more than half of California's assembly and senate districts. He also did extensive work in the field of corporate and public affairs.
A highlight of Steve's career was his long-time affiliation with former Governor George Deukmejian. Steve served as finance director for Deukmejian's successful bid for governor in 1982 as well as his earlier runs for statewide office. Governor Deukmejian was a friend and mentor whom Steve admired for working on both sides of the aisle to accomplish the people's business and for doing the right thing, no matter the cost.
Steve's early career achievements include serving as the Republican National Committee's regional political director for California and eight other western states from 1985 to 1991. He coordinated events for numerous dignitaries, including presidents Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush, as well as for Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Phillip. Throughout his long career, his opinion and analysis was frequently sought by news reporters and he was quoted in numerous articles on politics and elections.
Born Stephen Moulton Kinney on March 16, 1944 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Steve graduated from Sterling College in Kansas before serving in the United States Air Force from 1962 to 1966.
Steve and his beloved wife Cynthia 'Cindy' Kinney lived in Hermosa Beach and later Redondo Beach for more than 20 years. Steve loved the beach and, for 40 years, made a habit of living no more than a half-mile from a coastline. He was known to engage in consultations with clients and to mentor friends and young people during brisk, beachside walks on The Strand and along the bike path.
He was passionate about running and also enjoyed cooking gourmet meals, collecting and drinking fine California wines, playing golf, and traveling to all 50 states and every continent. His faith was important to him, and he was an active member of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Redondo Beach and was a much loved friend and neighbor known for his kindness, high energy, and infectious laughter.
He is survived by his loving wife of more than 20 years, Cynthia; sister Mabel L. Stehler of Pittsford, New York; and two brothers, Edward E. Kinney of Cupertino, California and David E. Kinney of Placitas, New Mexico. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Miriam Reed Kinney, who passed away in 1972.
A Memorial Service will be held at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, 301 Avenue D, Redondo Beach, California. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church or Sterling College, 125 W. Cooper Ave., Sterling, KS 67579.
Published in The Sacramento Bee on May 22, 2013