Hillary Clinton steps up her involvement in the midterms

Posted at 1:38 AM, Jul 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-31 03:38:41-04

Hillary Clinton is getting more involved in the 2018 midterms.

Clinton, through her political organization Onward Together, donated the maximum of $5,000 to 19 Democratic House candidates and four secretary of state candidates in June, according to the group’s filings with the Federal Election Commission. The donations represent the most concentrated midterm effort the former Democratic presidential nominee has made to date and further thrust Clinton into an election that will be the most potent judgment on Trump since he defeated her two years earlier.

Eleven of the House candidates who received donations from Clinton are vying to flip districts represented by Republicans in Congress that she won in 2016.

Representatives from Clinton’s team and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee worked together to target which candidates Clinton should back to stay in line with the party’s 2018 strategy, officials with both groups tell CNN.

While the former Democratic nominee has publicly endorsed Democrats on the ballot in November, she has yet to publicly hit the campaign trail and has largely kept her distance from 2018 campaign politics. One reason is strategic: Republicans are eager to tie Democratic candidates, especially those running in districts that lean Republican, to national figures like Clinton, a fact people close to the former secretary of state is well aware of.

These donations give Republicans a chance to hang Clinton’s lack of popularity with Republican voters over Democratic challengers. Clinton, though, remains popular with Democratic voters, meaning her backing of a House candidate could help with base supporters.

“All along the goal has been singular. Do whatever it takes to lift up candidates and organizations who will be terrific stewards of Democratic values,” Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill told CNN. “That’s what we have done with our partner organizations at OT, and it’s what our objective is when it comes to supporting individual candidates. There has never been a more important midterm election, and Secretary Clinton is going to do her part to lift up the next generation of leaders.”

The only expressly political event Clinton has headlined this year, according to a Clinton official, is a July fundraiser in New York for Lucy McBath, the reluctant gun rights activists who became a “Mother of the Movement” after her 17-year-old son Jordan Davis was shot and killed by a white man in 2012 after a dispute over loud music. McBath, who recently won her runoff in Georgia, was a fervent supporter of Clinton during the 2016 campaign.

The coordination between Clinton and the DCCC is apparent in her list of recipient candidates. All but four of the candidates Clinton cut checks for are on the group’s “Red to Blue” list, a assemblage of candidates that Democrats believe have the best chance to win Republican districts in November.

Those Democrats — who all received $5,000 from Clinton’s organization — are:

  • Aftab Pureval in Ohio’s 1st Congressional District
  • Sean Casten in Illinois’ 6th Congressional District
  • Gina Ortiz Jones in Texas’ 23rd Congressional District
  • Harley Rouda in California’s 48th Congressional District
  • Jason Crow in Colorado’s 6th Congressional District
  • Josh Harder in California’s 10th Congressional District
  • Katie Hill in California’s 25th Congressional District
  • Lauren Underwood in Illinois’ 14th Congressional District
  • Mike Levin in California’s 49th Congressional District
  • Steven Horsford in Nevada’s 4th Congressional District
  • Katie Porter in California’s 45th Congressional District
  • Scott Wallace in Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional District
  • Susan Wild in Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District
  • TJ Cox in California’s 21st Congressional District
  • Jennifer Wexton in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District

Clinton’s donations did not exclusively go to candidates on the DCCC’s list however. She also donated $5,000 each to Deb Haaland in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District, McBath in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, Mary Gay Scanlon in Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District and Talley Sergent in West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District — all of whom are not on the “Red to Blue” list.

Sergent worked for Clinton in 2008 and then during the former first lady’s stint as Secretary of State.

Clinton also donated to $5,000 each to four Secretary of State candidates — Nelson Araujo from Nevada, Deidre DeJear from Iowa, Jocelyn Benson from Michigan and Kathleen Clyde from Ohio — and three congressional PACs — the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ Bold PAC, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus ASPIRE PAC and the Congressional Black Caucus PAC.

Clinton donated to secretaries of state, said an official with her PAC, because she believes they play “a vital role in many issues, especially voting rights.”

“Democrats all across the country are unified behind taking back the House. The more that people step up and invest in our incredible candidates, the more they can communicate their records of service to voters and the better off we are,” said Meredith Kelly, communications director for the DCCC. “We greatly appreciate Secretary Clinton’s support toward that goal.”

Jesse Hunt, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee said of the donations in a statement, “The longer a scandal-plagued Hillary Clinton lingers in American politics, the worse off House Democrats will be. We can only hope the Pelosi/Clinton tandem takes their show on the road this fall.”