Several Democrats have stated that there is a desire on the part of Clinton and her innermost circle to go as late as possible. But the potential for a summer start to the official Clinton 2016 campaign, first reported by Politico, is only one of the options on the table. The spring launch plan is still seen by most Clinton watchers as the most likely timing scenario. Under the spring scenario, Clinton could form an exploratory committee or other official vehicle, which has FEC-regulated restrictions for potential candidates, but would enable Clinton to publicly indicate her intentions and begin a new phase of the process without formally launching a full blown campaign until later in 2015. The delay from the original April target would also give her more time to develop her message, policy and organization, without the chaos and spotlight of a public campaign.
There is some concern among Clinton loyalists that as the increasingly crowded Republican race heats up, the attacks on Clinton could begin to stick without an apparatus in place to answer them. Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee who is pondering another run, invoked Clinton numerous times during recent speeches.
The liberal superPAC American Bridge has been countering Republican attacks on Clinton’s behalf but the cover has not necessarily been to the satisfaction of all in Clinton’s orbit. The Democratic National Committee is beginning to take on a larger role in an effort to protect Clinton and the party brand but many Democrats are concerned even that won’t be enough. Some Democrats have also expressed concern that a later start to Clinton’s campaign will appear like the nomination is shaping up to be more of a coronation and a race – something Clinton and her advisers are looking to avoid.
However, those pushing for a later start argue that the more Hillary Clinton can stay out of the daily to and fro of presidential politics, the better that is for Hillary Clinton. No top Democrats have made serious moves to challenging Clinton’s informal and all but certain campaign. In addition, with the uptick of Obama’s approval ratings and easing of economic pessimism among the voters, some supporters of a later start argue that Clinton might want to continue to benefit from those environmental conditions before jumping into the daily presidential campaign mix.
The former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is reportedly courting members of Obama’s digital team to lead the technology operations of her expected 2016 campaign, many of whom helped Obama defeat her in the 2008 Democratic primary race.
Building an IT team is now seen as a critical part of the pre-launch of a presidential campaign, former Justice Department new media director and John Edwards campaign digital operations director Tracy Russo told Politico. “Any smart campaign has to have a digital director in place long before they announce so they can take advantage of the excitement of the announcement and funnel that energy into list-building and fundraising,” she said. “You do have to build it into every aspect of the campaign from Day One.”
The Republican party is gearing up its own internal technology team to back whoever the party’s nominee is for 2016. Last February, the GOP launched its own internal “tech incubator” Para Bellum Labs, to develop analytics and other applications to assist not just presidential candidates but candidates at every level.
Last fall an internal debate emerged about whether a campaign should form in January or February of 2015 or if it would be better to wait for Spring. Those arguing for a Spring start won that debate at the time, but it clearly did not stand as the final word on the matter.