The race to become the Obama administration peace envoy to Northern Ireland is down to the last few contenders.
IrishCentral.com has learned that former Congressman Bruce Morrison is now considered to be the favorite followed closely by Carol Wheeler, former head of the Obama Irish outreach drive, and Mark Tuohey, a Washington lawyer who is active in the Cooperation Ireland organization.
Morrison is believed to have discussed the position with senior administration figures and Wheeler has apparently been told she is also being vetted. Another name being mentioned is that of former Deputy National Security Advisor Nancy Soderberg, now lecturing at a Florida university. Former Ambassador to Portugal Elizabeth Bagley is also in the frame
The inside pick for the position, Anne-Marie Slaughter, head of Policy Planning at the State Department is said to not be interested in the job.
The recent outbreak of violence in Northern Ireland is said to have worked to Morrison’s advantage as he has the most experience by far with the issue. He was part of the original Irish Americans for Clinton group in 1992, which played a key role in securing the IRA ceasefire in 1994.
Morrison is a Washington lobbyist and immigration attorney and attended law school with Hillary Clinton.
Wheeler is a very popular figure among the Obama staffers and has been very active in Irish circles, most notably with Project Children.
Soderberg has been out of the White House loop in recent times, but could well be in the shakeup if they decide to go for an experienced candidate. She played a key role in Clinton initiatives on the North.
Tuohey has a long reputation as an Irish activist and supporter in the Washington area.
It is possible that Hillary Clinton may decide on both an economic and peace envoy, according to reports, around St. Patrick's Day.