Pro-Hillary super PAC picks up pace, opens doors to D.C.
December 12th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
8 years ago

Pro-Hillary super PAC picks up pace, opens doors to D.C.

Updated 9:26 p.m. 12/12/2013

Washington (CNN) - Ready for Hillary, a super PAC aimed at urging former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to run for president in 2016, has increased the number and scope of fundraisers and informational meetings it is organizing, according to representatives from the group.

In the past four days, the super PAC has organized events in California and Arkansas and on Thursday, Ready for Hillary kicked off its Washington-area push with a low-dollar fundraiser at a swanky lounge on K Street, the hub of D.C. lobbying.

This is just the start, said Ready for Hillary organizers, who have planned "low-dollar, grassroots" events in California, North Carolina, New York and Pennsylvania, in addition to "organizational meetings and volunteer training" in Texas, Ohio, Maine, Arizona and Oregon.

They will also hold a "high-dollar" fundraiser in Scarsdale, New York.

"There has been exponential growth" in the group's efforts, said Tracy Sefl, an adviser to the super PAC and a former campaign adviser for Clinton's 2008 presidential run.

On Monday, Howard Gordon, co-creator of "Homeland," and Paul Keisel, a trial attorney in Los Angeles, hosted respective meetings for the group around Los Angeles. A spokesman for the group described the events as "informational meetings" without a fundraising asking price.

That wasn't the case, however, at an event on Tuesday in Arkansas, where 30 people paid $1,000 to attend a fundraiser that included Archie Schaffer, a Tysons Foods executive closely affiliated with the Clinton family.

And on Friday, following the nighttime fundraiser in Washington, Carol Pensky, a longtime Democratic donor and the former treasurer for the Democratic National Committee, will host a fundraiser for the group at her Washington-area home.

According to a spokesman for the group, Jeremy Bird, the national field director for the 2012 re-election campaign of President Barack Obama, Democratic Rep. Dina Titus of Nevada and Joe Lockhart, President Bill Clinton's former press secretary, will speak at the fundraiser.

Bird's inclusion in a Ready for Hillary event is noteworthy and continues a trend of Obama for America campaign veterans backing the Clinton group.

Earlier this year, the inclusion of former Obama battleground director Mitch Stewart at a group meeting signaled that at least some of the team that helped Obama win the White House is prepared to back Clinton as well.

"It makes sense that we are doing events in those communities where we are seeing enthusiasm and people who are asking to host events," Sefl said.

But even as money is pouring in, representatives from Ready for Hillary maintain raising funds is not the group's primary focus.

"This organization is narrowly, laser like focused on building its e-mail list, gathering these supporters and keeping everyone engaged," said Sefl. "It is our sole focus."

Sefl points to the D.C. event as proof of that, where young people paid the group to give their email address and contact information. It seems to be work, too, as during her remarks at the fundraiser, Sefl noted the group has upwards of 1 million people signed up.

For some, the opportunity to come out was seen as a possible opening to working for the Clinton campaign.

"I definitely would love to be involved with the campaign," said Katherine Swanson, a student who paid to attend the event.

Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, the featured speaker at the fundraiser, urged people to stay engaged with so that in a few years, the group can help "usher in transformational changes."

"The more soldiers you have on the ground, the more you can combat the hundreds of millions of dollars that will be coming (Clinton's) way," said Ryan said after the event. "Getting people together is a big part of that process."

What's more, the congressman said Ready for Hillary gives Clinton "the space she needs to makes the decision that she wants and to do it on her own time frame" because with the group in place "a lot of the work is already being done."

Ryan was enthusiastic about supporting Ready for Hillary and, eventually, he hopes he will be supporting Clinton's presidential run. The Congressman also said getting involved in a low-dollar fundraiser, compared to more high-dollar events, was important to him.

"If they (people at low-dollar fundraisers) give you 20 bucks, it means a lot more to them than some millionaire that is giving you $5,000 or $10,000," Ryan said. "I think these events are, in many ways, more important than high-dollar events that get so much attention."

Ryan will be the featured speaker at the high-dollar fundraiser in Scarsdale later this month.
With the increased fundraising and expanded reach, Ready for Hillary is likely to hear critiques – like they did early in its effort – about the super PAC becoming strictly a "campaign in waiting" as Clinton, a former Secretary of State and U.S. Senator, mulls another run for the White House.

Even at Thursday's event, groups of young people spoke about working for Clinton in 2016 and volunteering to knock on doors and make calls. At a photo booth set up by the group, people took photos with a cardboard cutout of Clinton, laughing about how one day they hope to call her Madam President or boss.

Sefl, who has long charged that the assumption that the group is just a campaign in waiting is false, defended the increased reach on Wednesday.

"The organization has a very specific mission," she said. "Period, end of sentence."

Filed under: 2016 • Hillary Clinton • Washington D.C.
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Harold Richards

    Billary needs to wait until after the 2014 Democrat Purge to:
    – plunge the last dagger in Obama's back
    – denounce the evils of Obamacare and make a cloudy statement as to what she has planned to resolve the issue (we don't want another "You can keep your policy. Period" incident"
    – rally surviving Democrats to her side
    – launch here massive smear campaign because her whole campaign relies on the fact that she married Bill Clinton.

    Go Biden! Because "what matter does it make"

    December 12, 2013 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  2. S. B. Stein

    There are a number of assumptions. The first is that Clinton is going to run. If that is true, then it is good to get the ground work done early. What is going to happen if she doesn't run? I'd like to see all of the possible people running in a year or so since it isn't even past the 2014 elections.

    I remember a discussion before the 2008 primaries. There was the assumption that everyone would support Clinton and not listening to all the candidates.

    December 12, 2013 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  3. Gurgyl

    Hillary16. Period.

    December 12, 2013 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  4. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Madam President!

    December 12, 2013 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  5. king

    Hillary you better watch how much you cators to the unfortunates in this country, because it always seems to come back and bite you in the buttochs. the repubs have sit around for the past 5 years and use their superior propaganda machines, and pound the hell out of this current president, and the dems who doesnt have a spine to fight against this pounding, always seems to run to the hill. the thing that puzzles me though, is the people who will get helped the most, are the ones that keeps falling for the repubs crap all the time.

    December 12, 2013 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  6. current state of the union

    Read it and weep rwnj

    December 12, 2013 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  7. smith

    We always hear liberals saying that the corporations are big buddies and fundraisers of the gop. Tyson foods, friends of the Clintons and holding a fundraiser for her super-pac. Care to change your bullcrap talking point liberals? Both parties are in the pockets of special interest groups and corporations, the gop doesn`t deny this, but the liberals do.

    December 12, 2013 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  8. hurtsdonut

    But wait. Super PACs are the tool of evil greedy capitalists, we are told. Uber-enlightened liberals are above using such deceptive tactics they say. So this can not possibly be true.

    December 12, 2013 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Nothing can get the juices flowing in a conservative's viens more than Hillary Clinton. Clinton elicits the fulll spectrum of emotions: from a fear masked as disgust, to an ignorance masked as anger and scorn. Hillary gets their blood moving.

    And now she's got some help, a messaging machine that's been custom crafted for Clinton. Now that's just going a bit too far across the line. Democrats are not supposed to be the masters of messaging universe. Liberals are not even supposed to know about the messaging universe. Conservatives are going to feel the inevitable grip of doom pretty soon.

    December 12, 2013 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  10. jpmichigan

    She is going to run. She should have been President already, but the Democrats thought they had a winner in Obama and what they got was a DUD!!!!!

    December 12, 2013 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  11. MaryM

    Madam President Hillary Clinton and First Man President Bill Clinton. Two Presidents for the price of one.

    December 12, 2013 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  12. Hector Slagg

    We don't need to Re-Invent the Soviet Union. Over the last 100 years the Liberal's have passed the buck and the rssultt is a 17 Trillion Dollar Federal debt and if the Liberal's (Hillary) have their way less and less people will be working and more and more will be on the taxpayer dole. No thanks.

    December 12, 2013 09:49 am at 9:49 am |