Hillary Clinton sends early signal about 2016 bid on Irish visit
Reunites core Irish American fundraising and support group for visit
Hillary Clinton is giving an early indication that she sees a political future beyond retiring as Secretary of State when she visits the Republic and Northern Ireland this week.
Invitations have gone out from her top political aide Kris Balderston to key members of her fundraising and support group in the Irish American community to accompany her to Ireland.
It is the first time since Clinton became Secretary of State that there has been an effort to reunite her old coterie of Irish advisors.
Among those invited are head of Irish American Democrats Stella O’Leary, former U.S Economic Envoy Declan Kelly, businessman John FitzPatrick, top lawyer Brian O’Dwyer, former Congressman Bruce Morrison, Irish Voice Founder Niall O’Dowd, and other key members of her Irish circle.
All those invited have raised considerable funds for the former First Lady when she was running for office.
Stella O’Leary of Irish American Democrats stated she was “delighted” to be part of the delegation.
“I consider it a great opportunity to touch base with Secretary Clinton and to congratulate her personally on her remarkable job as Secretary of State."
Collectively the group raised millions for Hillary during her runs for U.S. Senate and president and several were on her main finance committee.
They will accompany her to her human rights speech at Dublin City University and her visit to Belfast on Friday where she will address an American Ireland Fund lunch.
With Obama no longer in the political picture in terms of future campaigns now that he has been re-elected, other major figures in the Democratic Party have been making overtures to Irish American support groups.
Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley is considered a major contender for the Democratic nomination in 2016 and has already been actively meeting Irish American supporters.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has also been seeking to source support from Irish Americans. Vice President Joe Biden, who has deep Irish American connections, may also make a run.
However, Hillary essentially freezes the race until she decides whether she runs or not and it will be impossible for other candidates to attract major Irish American support until she does.
The 2016 field will be keenly aware of the need to raise over $1 billion dollars to be competitive. Clinton has an unmatched group of donors to tap into.
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