Hillary Clinton confirms plans for exploratory committee
June 4, 1999
Web posted at: 6:08 p.m. EDT (2208 GMT)
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, June 4) -- In the final step before jumping officially into the New York 2000 Senate race, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton confirmed Friday that she will form an exploratory committee next month.
"I'm going to open an exploratory committee in July," she said. "And then I'll spend some time -- a lot of time -- in New York listening to people and I'm looking forward to that."
The first lady made the announcement in an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America." Her remarks confirmed what Harold Ickes, her top political adviser, said Thursday.
An exploratory committee is seen as the first step toward a formal candidacy, allowing candidates to raise money and fund campaign trips. Though the move would indicate that Mrs. Clinton is all but in the race, aides say she reserves the right to change her mind.
For months Mrs. Clinton has been mulling a bid for the Senate seat that is being vacated by the retiring Democratic Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan. The leading Republican in the race is New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has already formed an exploratory committee.
The first lady has a clear shot at the Democratic nomination in the race since Rep. Nita Lowey (D-New York) informed Mrs. Clinton Thursday that she would seek re-election in the House.
All along Lowey had been on standby, saying she would run for the Senate only if the first lady opted out of the race. But now she believes Mrs. Clinton will run and that it is time "to get on with my life."
As the first lady edges closer to running, Republicans issued another warning Thurday that they were ready to roll out the "carpetbagger" issue if she does.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) sent the first lady a Map of New York accompanied by a letter saying the committee "strongly believes you should learn as much as possible about the highways, major roads and interesting places to visit in a state you cannot even call home."
The letter also made reference to the Clintons' possible efforts to find a home near a golf course, considering the president's love of golf: "Perhaps you ought to consider running for office in Florida with a proliferation of gold courses."
The letter was signed by NRSC Executive Director Steven Law.