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Ickes: First lady will form exploratory committee in July

Rep. Lowey tells first lady she's out of NY Senate race

June 3, 1999
Web posted at: 3:59 p.m. EDT (1959 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, June 3) -- Harold Ickes, the head of the first lady's political operation, says Hillary Rodham Clinton "will form an exploratory committee in early July."

Ickes, a former White House deputy chief of staff, said Mrs. Clinton reserved the right to change her mind, but was moving ahead with interviews of prospective campaign staffers and consultants.

An exploratory committee is seen as the first step toward a formal candidacy, allowing candidates to raise money and fund campaign trips.

Meanwhile, several Democratic sources tell CNN that veteran Democratic fund-raiser Terence McAuliffe is telling party donors the first lady will run for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

And in yet another sign the speculation about who will be the Democratic nominee is all but over, New York Rep. Nita Lowey announced Thursday she will run for re-election to the House because she is convinced the first lady will make a Senate bid.

In a statement, Lowey said, "It has become increasingly clear that the first lady will run for Senate. Therefore I have decided to seek re-election to the House of Representatives. ... I called the first lady today to share my decision with her and I pledged my support for her candidacy."

Lowey
Rep. Nita Lowey  

According to Wolfson, the first lady did not directly accept Lowey's conclusion about her plans but that Mrs. Clinton "said she very much appreciated Nita's friendship and looked forward to working with her in the future."

Lowey also invited Mrs. Clinton to a political barbecue she plans at her Westchester home later this summer, Wolfson said.

Lowey had said she would seek the Senate seat only if Mrs. Clinton opted out of the race.

On Wednesday, Mrs. Clinton was back in New York for the 10th time this year to deliver the commencement address at the City College of New York, telling graduates they should take seriously "their civic duty."

Following that appearance, the first lady attended a Democratic Party luncheon honoring the president of a powerful local teachers' union, followed by an evening fund-raising reception for Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-New York).

And even though she tells aides and associates she reserves the right to change her mind, Democratic consultant James Carville, who met with Mrs. Clinton at the White House on Thursday told CNN: "She is running."

CNN's John King contributed to this report.

CAMPAIGN 2000

First lady addresses New York grads; interview campaign staff (6-2-99)

President gives first lady advice on Senate run (5-31-99)

First lady helps Nita Lowey raise $1 million (5-25-99)

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First lady looks to make Senate decision 'sooner' (5-14-99)

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Thursday, June 3, 1999

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