Sen. Claire McCaskill, an early supporter of President Obama in 2008, has officially thrown her support behind an independent group urging former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to run for president in 2016, becoming the first sitting member of Congress to do so.
“Hillary Clinton had to give up her political operation while she was making us proud, representing us around the world as an incredible Secretary of State, and that’s why Ready for Hillary is so critical,” Mrs. McCaskill, Missouri Democrat, said. “It’s important that we start early, building a grassroots army from the ground up, and effectively using the tools of the Internet — all things that President Obama did so successfully — so that if Hillary does decide to run, we’ll be ready to help her win.”
Mrs. Clinton has not made any decisions about her political future but has held tremendous leads over would-be Democratic primary challengers in virtually every poll on the 2016 presidential contest.
Sen. Kirsten C. Gillibrand, New York Democrat, also has been mentioned as a potential 2016 presidential candidate but has said she has no plans to run and she plans to support Mrs. Clinton if she does run. Mrs. Gillibrand, who also has friendly ties to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, another possible contender, was appointed to fill Mrs. Clinton’s U.S. Senate seat before winning in a special election in 2010 and re-election to a full term in 2012.
Though supporters of Mrs. Clinton undoubtedly would like to completely clear the field early on should she decide to run — heading off a potential repeat of the bitter 2008 primary campaign between Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton — such early announcements could begin to test deep-seated loyalties in Washington between the Clinton family and supporters of Vice President Joseph R. Biden, who also is pondering a run.
Mrs. McCaskill said the Ready for Hillary group will be crucial for 2016 because the group is helping to show that no matter who people supported in the 2008 primary campaign, “we can all agree today that there is nobody better equipped to be our next President than Hillary Clinton.”