Clinton Seeks to Add ‘Leadership Councils’ to Campaign Infrastructure

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 8.56.25 AMMAGGIE HABERMAN Monday, October 5, 2015



Good Monday morning. The House is bracing for a leadership fight this week, and the Supreme Court returns. But the focus will shift more to the Democrats as they prepare for their first debate next week and as Hillary Rodham Clinton is rolling out new proposals and a strategy to highlight her organizational and structural advantages, even while Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont continues to dog her in the polls.

With the summer behind them, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign aides on Monday will announce a series of “leadership councils” in crucial March states, the latest effort to create an engaged network of organizers.

At almost every turn, Mrs. Clinton uses her stump speeches to describe the importance of organizing, the absence of which played a role in her not winning the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. Her team had planned for weeks to unveil councils in crucial states — the first being Colorado, Minnesota and Virginia — as the fall push in the Democratic nominating contest began.

But the leadership councils comprise dozens of top elected officials and superdelegates in those states, who will be asked to help target new volunteers and supporters, and who serve as surrogates in the news media in their states. The numbers make clear the work that Mrs. Clinton’s allies have put in since 2013 to bolster her prospects.
The leadership councils will eventually be in all 50 states, a campaign aide said. And as with the Clinton campaign’s donor structure, the goal is “flat” — meaning the top elected official isn’t the leader of the group.
Many of the people on the lists — such as Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia, a friend of the Clintons and the chairman of Mrs. Clinton’s last presidential campaign — long ago endorsed her, before she was actually a candidate, and when the “super PAC” Ready for Hillary was trying to stockpile endorsements. But in some cases, it’s the first time those endorsers have had a role in her campaign.
And they serve as a reminder that large sections of the Democratic establishment have already committed to Mrs. Clinton, at a moment when Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is testing how much room remains for him to join the race.