Hillary Clinton made it official Sunday in minimalist form. The former U.S. senator from New York and secretary of state announced the launch of her second run for the presidency via an email from her campaign chair John Podesta and a YouTube video, beginning a campaign she hopes will lead to the White House.
“Everyday Americans need a champion and I want to be that champion,” Clinton says in the video.
According to Podesta’s announcement, Clinton will travel to Iowa and begin conversations with the state’s voters. She will also have an official campaign kickoff in May.
Podesta sends email to Hillary 2008 alumni announcing she is in — first official announcement from the campaign. pic.twitter.com/AsOEw6Z33T
— Jesse Berney (@jesseberney) April 12, 2015
Despite not having any serious challengers as she returns to the campaign trail seven years after losing the nomination in 2008 to Barack Obama, she will nonetheless have a battle in front of her.
Much of her expected strategy in the coming months already has been revealed. Two anonymous staffers told the Associated Press Saturday Clinton would make economic opportunity for the middle class and expanding opportunities for working families the centerpiece of her campaign. They also told the wire service Clinton will spend the next few months meeting with voters in small groups in swing states including Iowa. The strategy is similar to the one Clinton employed in 2008, when she published a Web video to announce her candidacy before heading to Iowa for campaign events.
Leaks about Clinton’s candidacy began even before the weekend. Business Insider reported Friday Clinton would announce her candidacy this weekend via a Web video, then hit the road for a number of campaign appearances. Though she currently stands alone among Democrats vying for the White House, Clinton will have to work to repair her image among independent voters. In addition to ongoing criticism of her work as secretary of state, Clinton recently faced stiff criticism for deleting a number of personal emails she’d kept on a private server that she ran out of her own house, rather than on a government-controlled server that would make it easier to retrieve the data in the event of an outside inquiry.
Clinton also has been ripped by Republican presidential hopefuls for accepting foreign donations to the Clinton Global Initiative, something she’d suspended while serving in the Obama administration but which she resumed after leaving the State Department. But depending on how the field of competitors shapes up, she may not have to work very hard at all. A CNN/ORC poll conducted last month showed Clinton has a double-digit lead over five expected Republican presidential hopefuls: 54 percent of the poll respondents said they would vote for Clinton over any challengers.
Clinton’s standing as a high-profile figure in American politics for more than two decades is to her advantage and her detriment. Her husband, Bill Clinton, won the presidency in 1992, and her fame still far outstrips that of any other likely Democratic contenders as well as possible opponents from the Republican Party. But with that fame comes a set of challenges Clinton will need to overcome if her campaign is to be successful.
Her advisers, including her husband, have urged her to take nothing for granted, arguing voters would be turned off by anything that gives the impression she’s taking them for granted.