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Thursday, March 6, 2014

K Street gears up for Hillary -- By Kevin Bogardus, The HIill

Hillary Clinton’s K Street network is preparing for a White House run in 2016.

With Democrats in Congress already anointing Clinton as the party’s standard-bearer, lobbyists are pledging their allegiance and making clear they will do whatever they can to help the former first lady become first in command.

“I would definitely support her in 2016. If she runs, I will support her. No doubt,” said David Jones, a partner at Capitol Counsel, who was a member of the finance committee for Clinton’s 2008 campaign.
“I never even considered anyone else,” Jones said.

Clinton has not yet revealed her plans for 2016. But after more than two decades in national politics as first lady, senator and secretary of State, she has a virtual army of Washington hands standing ready to serve as foot soldiers in a presidential campaign.

Many of the lobbyists helped Clinton with her last run for the White House in 2008 and say they are willing and eager to jump back on the train.

“Absolutely, 100 percent,” said Steve Elmendorf, president of Elmendorf Ryan, when asked if he would support a Clinton run. “To me, it’s not even a close call. … Among Democrats, there’s no one else as well-positioned to win as her.”

Lobbyists are often crucial players in a candidate’s campaign, offering valuable political advice, strategy and policy expertise. They also serve as donors and bundlers of the cash needed to fund a national campaign.

Lawyers and lobbyists gave more than $18 million in campaign contributions to Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Elmendorf is among a number of prominent fundraisers on K Street who could help build a Clinton machine. Tony Podesta, chairman of Podesta Group, is another campaign rainmaker who is expected to support her if she runs.

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