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March 18. 2014 7:13PM

SuperPAC laying groundwork for Hillary Clinton to run


Hillary Clinton celebrates her victory in the 2012 New Hampshire primary at SNHU in Manchester. (Union Leader)

CONCORD — The Ready for Hillary SuperPAC, formed last year to "urge" Hillary Clinton to run for President, on Tuesday continued laying the groundwork for grassroots support should Hillary Clinton be a candidate in the 2016 first-in-the-nation presidential primary.

The SuperPAC's national executive director, Adam Parkhomenko, and Communications Director Seth Bringman were in the state as the group hosted a lunch they said was attended by 80 state House and Senate members, including House Speaker Terie Norelli and Senate Democratic leader Sylvia Larsen, D-Concord.

Terry Shumaker, the New Hampshire Ready for Hillary senior adviser and a former ambassador in President Bill Clinton's administration, played a key role in organizing the event and the visit. A national adviser to the group, Craig Smith, visited the state in January.

Parkhomenko said the SuperPAC raised $4 million last year with 98 percent in donations of $100 or less.

He said the group's main goal is to organize support in the event that Clinton decides to run and in the meantime have supporters "get engaged" in this year's elections. A key focus will be on young people. Parkhomenko said that many young people who were 10 years old when Clinton last ran in 2008 will be eligible to vote in 2016.

While the group has no direct relationship to Clinton, Parkhomenko said, "Our plan is to urge her to run."

He said that while he has had no contact with her, "I believe she has not made up her mind."

New Hampshire, of course, has long been Clinton territory, from Bill Clinton's "Comeback Kid" second-place finish in the 1992 primary and his two general election victories in the state, to Hillary Clinton's surprise 2008 first-in-the-nation presidential primary victory over Barack Obama.

Parkhomenko said, "The enthusiasm we're seeing around the Granite State is amazing. With that said, no one is taking anything for granted. No one who runs for President is inevitable and we hope to be as organized as possible should she decide to run."

Shumaker said, "The shoals of New Hampshire are littered with the wrecks of front-runners, and anyone who takes New Hampshire for granted does so at their own peril."

Ready for Hillary tried to help organize support for Democratic Executive Council candidate Mike Cryans, especially among young people in District 1. Cryans lost the special election last week to Republican Joe Kenney, but Parkhomenko said the effort helped on the organizational front.

"If we could do it all over again, he said, "we'd do it all over again. But we saw tons of excitement and we hope to have them getting involved in 2014."

Nashua's GOP conference

Also Tuesday, the state Republican Party said it raised net proceeds of $70,000 at last week's Northeast Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua.

As a result of the big U.S. Senate exploratory committee announcement by former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, in addition to the appearances of several potential GOP presidential candidates, no fewer than 80 media outlets covered the event in Nashua, according to an internal memo passed out at the state GOP's executive committee meeting Monday night.

According to the memo, 529 people ended up attending the event, in addition to 50 speakers and panelists, 36 volunteers, 45 sponsors and vendors. The memo says Republicans from 13 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico participated.

Gross proceeds were $124,074, with net proceeds of $70,460.

jdistaso@unionleader.com


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