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.