Volunteers of I'm Ready for Hillary wait to sign up supporters outside a supermarket where former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was signing her new book "Hard Choices" in Arlington, Virginia, outside Washington, on June 14, 2014.
Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty

Hillary Clinton allies lay groundwork in Iowa


Ahead of Hillary Clinton’s first visit to Iowa since her failed 2008 presidential run, a pro-Clinton super PAC is doing everything it can to boost the potential 2016 candidate in the key state.

In September, Hillary and Bill Clinton are headlining the annual Steak Fry, hosted by retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin. It’s a key fundraising and party organizing event in a state where Clinton struggled during her last bid. 

Clinton has no on-the-ground organization and only a skeleton staff of fewer than a dozen people, so the super PAC Ready for Hillary is stepping in to try to make Clinton’s return to the first caucus state a success.

Earlier this week, volunteer phone bankers based in both Iowa and Washington, D.C. started calling into Iowa to encourage supporters to purchase tickets to the Steak Fry, according to the group.

And Wednesday night, former Iowa attorney general and gubernatorial candidate Bonnie Campbell emailed Ready for Hillary supporters in the state with a similar ask. Calling the event “Iowa’s most iconic political event, and the unofficial kickoff to election season,” Campbell encouraged supports purchase tickets in order to “honor Tom’s legacy, welcome the Clintons to Iowa, and enjoy some great food while you’re at it.”

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The super PAC’s campaign-style bus will also be at the event.

Tickets start at $30 for individuals ($15 for students) and go up to $500 for a “sponsor” level. Proceeds are divided between Harkin’s leadership PAC and the Iowa Democratic Party.

Clinton came in third in Iowa in 2008 – that loss gave then-Sen. Barack Obama the credibility he needed to challenge Clinton head-on during the rest of the primary season. It’s a scenario supporters of Clinton hope to avoid, should the former secretary of state decide to run again. 

Ready for Hillary communications director Seth Bringman said the group will also be getting increasingly involved in 2014 midterm races as Clinton herself does. That will involve asking their supporters directly to get involved with state coordinated campaigns, as well asking them to help specific candidates whom Clinton endorses.

Iowa has several competitive 2014 midterm races, including for the Senate, governor, and a few house seats. “She’s getting busier, which means we’re getting busier,” Bringman said.

Clinton is also headlining at least three political events next month, including one Democratic National Committee event with President Obama. Another, held at Clinton’s Washington, D.C. home, benefits the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. The third, to be held in San Francisco with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi benefits the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. 

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