Hillary Clinton Email: Local Democratic Leaders Stirred, Not Shaken

PHOTO: Former President Bill Clinton and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Senator Tom Harkin flip steaks at the 37th Harkin Steak Fry, Sept. 14, 2014 in Indianola, Iowa. Steve Pope/Getty Images
Former President Bill Clinton and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Senator Tom Harkin flip steaks at the 37th Harkin Steak Fry, Sept. 14, 2014 in Indianola, Iowa.

Democratic leaders in the key early caucus state of Iowa and elsewhere are offering mixed reactions to revelations surrounding Hillary Clinton’s use of private e-mail as secretary of state, with most standing by her but some questioning whether their party needs another choice.

"Those supportive of Hillary Clinton that were backing her in 2008 are pushing this aside," Linda Nelson, the Pottawattamie County, Iowa, Democratic chair, told ABC News. "Others are saying, 'Hey, Hillary is going to continue to have baggage from her husband's administration, from the State Department that’s going to be drawn out again and again, and we aren’t going to win the presidency. Let’s just get a fresh face and move forward.’”

Walt Pregler, Democratic Party chair for Dubuque County, Iowa, called the email issue "trivial," and other local Democratic leaders seemed to feel the same way.

“Everybody has a private email account. The fact that she has one doesn’t seem to make a big difference," Polk County Democratic Chair Tom Henderson told ABC News. "I don’t think voters know why it’s important yet."

Martin Peterson from Crawford County, Iowa, expressed concerns over a lack of options.

"Unfortunately there are no other candidates- I wish there were," Peterson said to ABC News. "It won’t be competitive enough and we’ll probably lose because I don’t think it will play out well for us. Now how about that for pessimism?"

Clinton’s team has said it has handed over 55,000 pages of emails to the State Department for review, and while the question of whether or not she broke any rules by purposefully avoiding a government-run email account is still up in the air, the optics of the controversy are the bigger issue, for some.

“She had the right it use it. But was it smart? Probably not,” Cedar County, Iowa, Democratic Party chair Larry Hodgden said. “It’s not illegal but this is just one more thing she’s opened herself up to controversy.”

Outside Iowa, other Democrats see the email controversy just as part of the inevitable political process.

PHOTO: Hillary Clinton looks at a phone message with Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Philip Gordon as they wait in a conference room, Feb. 4, 2012.Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
Hillary Clinton looks at a phone message with Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Philip Gordon as they wait in a conference room, Feb. 4, 2012.

Doug Grant, Democratic Party chair for the northern part of Grafton County, New Hampshire, called the email issue "a tempest in a teapot."

"I will look for a blazing star [candidate] that will come out from nowhere in the next three months, that will blaze in the sky. That’s just not too plausible, unfortunately," he said.

Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chairman Jim Burn told ABC News that he has "no pause" about Clinton, but a primary is necessary "if you have candidates who haven’t been battle-tested ... but we’ve had that conversation with Hillary Clinton and we have pretty much vetted her."

One of the most vocal Democratic voices speaking out against Clinton is Dick Harpootlian, one of Vice President Joe Biden's biggest supporters and a former Democratic Party chairman in South Carolina.

"The chatter down here is, 'Is this the best we can do?'" Harpootlian told The Washington Post on Wednesday. "Certainly everyone wants to give a woman a chance to lead this country, but is [Clinton] the woman? There are plenty of other women who would be competitive, whether it’s Elizabeth Warren or Amy Klobuchar or Kirsten Gillibrand."

Harpootlian continued his criticisms today on CNN, saying that the assumption that Clinton is the frontrunner may save her from having to answer questions during the primary.

“Is that what we really want in a presidential candidate and is that really what we want in a president?” Harpootlian asked.

"Is she going to lose over the email account? Absolutely not. What I'm saying is this is symptomatic of a larger problem," he said.

“She’s got to run the campaign,” Harpootlian said. “I was around Clinton in 92. I was with Obama here in Virginia in 08. I’ll tell you who ran those campaigns: Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Who the hell’s running this campaign?”

National Republican figures have suggested Clinton’s conduct regarding the emails will be a campaign issue.

"Hillary Clinton must think we’re all suckers," Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Short said in a statement released Wednesday evening. "The fact Hillary Clinton set up a 'homebrewed' email system in her house to skirt federal recordkeeping regulations is a pretty good indicator of just how transparent she’s interested in being."

Jeb Bush, one of Clinton’s likely opponents, tweeted a slight at Clinton as soon as the news of her private email domain and servers broke on Monday.

ABC News' Kirsten Appleton contributed to this report.