A group of Hillary Clinton supporters is launching a campaign to draft her to run for president — the first major push from an outside group for her to run.
The group, “Ready for Hillary,” filed as a super-PAC with the Federal Election Commission late last week and plans to roll out a website in the coming weeks.
It has already been active online, with nearly 50,000 Twitter followers and almost 30,000 people following the group on Facebook.
The effort is being spearheaded by Allida Black and Judy Beck, two longtime Clinton supporters who were on Clinton’s Virginia Women’s Steering Committee in 2008 and helped her raise more than $100,000.
The two also were behind Women Count, a political action committee that ran ads pushing back against calls for Clinton to drop out early from the 2008 presidential race.
Black told The Hill that about a dozen veterans of the 2008 Clinton campaign were involved with the new group, though they were mostly volunteers, fundraisers and committee delegates, rather than part of Clinton’s internal circle. "This is not Hillaryland. I love Hillaryland. I was not officially part of Hillaryland; I was a volunteer. I worked with her on specific issues, which is one of the reasons why I'm so devoted to her candidacy," Black said. The group’s Facebook page, however, says a “former aide” and “former adviser” to Clinton are both involved in the efforts. “It's a draft movement. We want her to run, but we are not rookie volunteers,” Black told The Hill on Monday. “This is not our first campaign. We know how to raise money. Most of us who are involved have done fundraisers before. I certainly have had fundraisers for her at my house in Virginia. We're there to mobilize support for her in a variety of forms, both financial and grassroots. We're getting ready so that when she's ready, we've got the resources to help her do it.”
She declined to say who else, specifically, was involved in the organization.
Black said that “the fireworks will begin” with the rollout of pro-Clinton website sometime in the next week or two, after she officially finishes her duties at the State Department.
Black said she hasn’t seen Clinton in a year or so and doubted the secretary of State has yet heard about the efforts.
She said the group’s focus would not be to raise “a gazillion dollars” but rather to “to sustain a really devoted, organized following to support her run for president both on the ground and with whatever funds they can donate.”
Clinton is currently enjoying sky-high popularity ratings with both the Democratic base and the broader electorate, and has a long-established national network of volunteers and donors. Should she run, Clinton would have no trouble assembling a strong team to back her, and some Democrats believe she might be able to clear the 2016 field.
There is one other pro-Hillary super-PAC, founded by an Iowa backer. Black said she hadn’t heard from the group’s founder.
While Black described Clinton as “the leader of my lifetime” and said she badly wanted Clinton to run for president, she hoped the former first lady would take some time off to consider a bid, as she’s indicated she will do.
“This is not in any way an authorized endeavor — this is me calling my friends across the country to develop grassroots support for her,” she said. “I want her to rest. I want her to have the first real vacation she's ever had in her entire life, and come back ready, rested and emboldened to take the next step.”
Clinton officially steps down as secretary of State on Friday.