Hillary Clinton supporters are kicking off a race for presidential campaign money more than three years before the next election, and before the former secretary of state has officially announced her intentions.
The Ready for Hillary political action committee has already raised $1 million since it started soliciting contributions in the spring, and has put together a strong support group among prominent donors and members of the Democratic Party, reports The New York Times
The aim is to create a grass-roots group of potential volunteers, donors, and general supporters to give her a boost over other potential rivals should she decide to run for the Democratic nomination in 2016.
"One of the purposes is to show what we think is the very broad and deep support for her," former White House aide Harold Ickes, a close Clinton friend and political associate who is advising Ready for Hillary, told the Times. "And if she decides to run, then within the confines of the law, these names and email addresses [the group is assembling] would be given to the campaign."
According to the Times, Ready for Hillary was founded by a volunteer junior staff member who worked for Clinton's failed 2008 presidential campaign. The PAC has since hired five full-time people and contracted with a consulting firm co-founded by a former field director of President Barack Obama's campaigns.
Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill told the Times that Clinton herself is not coordinating with the group.
“Their energy and enthusiasm to convince her to run is inspiring, though only she in the end can make that very personal decision,” Merrill said.
The group has limited donations to $25,000, but it has attracted the help of some of the nation's more powerful campaign contributors, including some who helped account for more than $100 million in Democratic super PAC contributions in 2012. Among them, the Times reported, are Oregon publishing executive Winthrop McCormac, New York arts philanthropist Agnes Gund, and telecommunications executive Irwin Jacobs, who contributed more than $2 million to pro-Obama efforts last year.
But despite the presence of high profile supporters and donors, the Times reported that Ready for Hillary is focusing on pulling together small groups of volunteers and contributors from all over the country as early as possible, a strategy that helped the Obama campaign last year in regions thought to be solidly Republican.
The Times noted as well that the PAC has received about 3,625 small contributions "of exactly $20.16 each" over the past few months.
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