Fifty-seven Democratic lawmakers say they would endorse former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for president if she launches a 2016 presidential bid, a new survey has found.
Twenty-two of them have already publicly endorsed the former first lady even though she has yet to announce her candidacy, and the additional 35 congressional members told The Hill survey
that if Clinton runs, they would back her in the Democratic primary, still two and a half years away.
The list represents more than 20 percent
of the 253 Democrats currently serving in the House and Senate, and more than half of the endorsements Clinton received when she ran against President Barack Obama in 2008.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer is among the early backers of Clinton. He told The Hill he is an "admirer" and believes she would be an "excellent president."
"I would jump off the Willis Tower, which is the tallest building in Chicago, to support Hillary Clinton," Illinois Rep. Danny Davis, who endorsed Obama over Clinton in the 2008 primary, also told The Hill.
"I was happy to support Barack Obama, and I'm happy to support Hillary Clinton," Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva told The Hill as well.
More than half of Clinton's endorsers in Congress are women
, The Hill notes. Last year, all 16 women Democratic senators signed a private letter to Clinton urging her to run.
Michele Swers, professor of American government at Georgetown University, said that early endorsers of Clinton
believe she has the best shot to win and they want to be seen as "backing a winner." But she advised that it may be in their best interests to hold off.
"If I'm a member of Congress, I might want to wait for her to declare and get some favors, and I'd like my endorsement to have the maximum impact," Swers told The Hill.
A number of lawmakers declined to declare their support for Clinton, among them, California Rep. Karen Bass and Illinois Rep. Mike Quigley.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also hinted she would support Clinton in the primary but stopped short of saying so explicitly, according to The Hill.
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