In a downtown Washington bar and lounge Thursday night, the more than 450 Hillary Clinton supporters who gathered for the pro-Clinton super PAC Ready for Hillary D.C. kickoff event could hardly wait for 2016.
“I voted for Hillary when she ran in the primary last time so I’m going to do everything that I can to get her in this time,” said Samantha Scott, 40, a Washington resident by way of Ohio, with a mostly full glass of pinot noir in hand. “I feel like somewhere out there she knows we’re here and maybe we’ll convince her to run.”
Scott and her sister Staci Scott are Clinton Democrats: Hillary Clinton Democrats, that is.
Until Clinton, members of the Scott family were generally Reagan Republicans, Staci Scott, 44, said.
“That’s when I changed,” she said. “I was a registered independent. I registered as a Democrat to vote for Hillary.”
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The Scott sisters, like most others in attendance Thursday night at the clubby yet campaign rally-esque affair, are three years ahead of the curve when it comes to presidential politics because they don’t want to leave anything to chance in 2016.
They donned their “I’m Ready for Hillary” stickers and buttons, snatched their branded iPhone cases and dutifully replied with a convincing, “Yes!” when asked the inevitable question: “Are you ready for Hillary?”
The pro-Clinton super PAC, founded by longtime Clinton supporters, including Iowa and Virginia backers, has been ratcheting up its activities since coming into existence shortly after Clinton left her post as secretary of state in February.
The process has involved bringing old Clinton supporters and fundraisers into the fold, as well as investing former Obama staff in the effort of building a Hillary Clinton grassroots base that can match or perhaps exceed the one President Obama’s campaign put together in 2008 and 2012.
The campaign itself is at least another year away from starting, but you almost wouldn’t know it.
“What we want to do and want this campaign to be is something that ushers in a new era of politics in the United States,” said Rep. Tim Ryan, R-Ohio, who has the distinction of being the first member of the House to endorse the pro-Hillary super PAC.
“Hillary can break the logjam in Washington, D.C., and move our country forward and with your help she’s going to be able to do that.
Ryan said he’s looking forward to taking the Ready for Hillary enthusiasm to his home state and battleground Ohio.
“We’re getting a lot of calls from my friends in Ohio who are anxious to see how they can help,” Ryan told ABC News.
Ryan was joined by a small representation of the growing cadre of Obama alumni joining Ready for Hillary, including Kouri Marshall, the former Obama for America D.C. director who will be reprising some of those responsibilities on behalf of Ready for Hillary. And Jeff Johnson, an activist and former BET journalist will be working his contacts, particularly among African-American Obama-backers for the group as well.
The gathering was also a place for Obama loyalists to recommit to a new mission.
“I think Hillary’s time has come,” said Bill Snyder, 46, an Obama supporter in attendance at the rally. “I’m excited. To be honest my perception about her has changed for the better.
“I think she’s matured and she’s a different candidate than she used to be so I’m going to give her my big support.”
Event “hosts” were asked to bring along 20 friends and tickets were sold for a symbolic $20.16.
Anastasia Dellacio, a host, is a longtime family supporter of the Clintons. Her parents raised money for Bill Clinton’s presidential runs and Hillary Clinton’s bid in 2008.
Her devotion to Hillary Clinton, 66, is absolute and it extends to Chelsea Clinton, two years Dellacio’s senior, and whatever presidential ambitions the youngest Clinton’s future might bring.
“[Hillary] Clinton is someone who has always been kind of a mentor and I hope to achieve what she has and now Chelsea,” Dellacio, 32, said. “And so whatever I can do to leverage my network of young professionals around getting her elected is very important to me.
“She’s still young and she can still do it,” she added.
For millennials like Dellacio and Christine Horansky, one of Dellacio’s Ready for Hillary recruits, a Clinton presidency seems like it ought to be an inevitability.
“I am so excited about the prospect of Hillary running for president in 2016,” Haransky, 31, said. “I’ve been waiting since I was a little girl and I’m ready for her and I think America is too.”