Hillary Clinton is expected to launch her campaign for US president sometime in the next two weeks and will initially focus on intimate events, rather than soaring speeches to big rallies, as her team looks to put her in direct contact with voters in states with early primaries or caucuses.
The goal, according to two people close to the Clinton organisation, is to make Clinton’s second run for the White House more about voters and less about herself.
While it appears at this moment that the former secretary of state will not face a tough primary challenge in 2016, she is aiming to show voters she plans to earn their support and won’t take the Democratic Party’s nomination for granted.
The strategy is also aimed at playing to what Clinton allies see as her strengths. Friends and advisers have long said she is more at ease in small group settings and one-on-one conversations where she can display her policy expertise, as well as personal warmth that she sometimes struggles to convey in front of larger crowds.
When Clinton ran for Senate in 2000, she kicked off her campaign with a listening tour across New York state.
On the Republican side, at least 10 persons have a shot at the nomination to run against Clinton, the presumed Democratic candidate. The front runner is former Florida governor Jeb Bush, whose father and brother were presidents. Senator Rand Paul is expected to announce his candidacy on Tuesday, joining Senator Ted Cruz as the second major Republican candidate in the race.
Clinton’s approach also comes with risks. More loosely scripted appearances increase the chances that Clinton could be drawn off message or make a misstep that causes a distraction for the campaign. The former secretary of state has also been off the campaign trail for years, and she seemed rusty in fielding questions during interviews on a book tour last year.
The exact date of Clinton’s launch is a closely guarded secret, but the announcement is expected by mid-April. Clinton aides have been checking in with longtime supporters on their whereabouts this month and Democratic operatives in the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire have essentially been put on standby.
Clinton may make the official announcement with an online video or social media post, though those plans are still being finalised. She is expected to quickly hit the campaign trail, with stops in Iowa and New Hampshire.
It’s unclear whether Clinton’s husband, former president Bill Clinton, and her daughter, Chelsea, will hold solo events in the campaign’s early stages.
Those familiar with the campaign plans insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the details on the record.