There's very little question that Chelsea Clinton will run for office at some point in the future
The most obvious first step for Clinton's political ambitions is the 17th congressional district
Chelsea Clinton wants you to know she isn’t running for president against Donald Trump in 2020.
“I clearly don’t agree with our president, but I’m definitely not the right person to run to defeat him in 2020,” Clinton told CBS’s Norah O’Donnell during an interview Tuesday morning.
Look: There’s very little question that Chelsea Clinton will run for office at some point in the future. She acknowledged as much with O’Donnell.
“Right now, the answer is no, but I think we all need to be asking ourselves that question periodically,” Clinton said about seeking elected office.
But, no one – and I mean no one – was waiting with bated breath for Clinton to make a go or no-go decision about running for president. Yes, Clinton is constitutionally eligible to run – she’s 37 and was born in the United States. Beyond that, though, no one thinks president would be the right first office for her to run for.
That Clinton took O’Donnell’s question about whether she might follow in her parents’ footsteps and immediately leapt to ruling out a presidential bid may be a telling window into where her ambitions (and self-regard) ultimately lie. And that looks like 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Eventually.
In the near(er) term, the most obvious first step for Clinton’s political ambitions is New York’s 17th congressional district currently held by Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey. Lowey’s district includes the town of Chappaqua, where the Clintons have made their home since Bill Clinton left the White House in 2001.
While Chelsea Clinton currently lives in New York City, it would be easy for her to relocate to Chappaqua. Or she wouldn’t even necessarily need to do that since members of Congress are not required to live in the district they represent.
Lowey has held the strongly Democratic seat since 1988. She’ll turn 80 this summer. And she is a longtime ally of the Clintons. (Lowey was expected to run for the Senate in 2000 but backed out once Hillary Clinton made clear she would run.)
The New York Post wrote in November that Chelsea Clinton was “being groomed” to run for Lowey’s seat. “I’m running for office,” Lowey told the Daily Caller last November. “I currently serve and the future will take care of itself. I will keep running.”
While the Lowey seat is the most obvious target in New York for Clinton, it’s also possible that she could run for the 12th district seat currently held by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who represents the area – Madison Square Park – where Clinton, her husband and their kids currently live.
But Maloney, who has held the seat since 1993, shows no signs of leaving her safe Democratic seat.
Alternatively, Clinton could go more local – running for either city council or mayor. She lives in the 2nd district in terms of the city council; Rosie Mendez holds that district currently. As for mayor, Clinton would have to primary incumbent Bill de Blasio.
While a grudge match between the Clintons and de Blasio, who managed Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign but fell out of favor with the family in 2016, would be a political junkie’s dream, but it seems very, very unlikely.
If neither Lowey nor Maloney retire before the 2018 election, Clinton is likely to sit out one more election. But she won’t sit on those sidelines forever – as evidenced by the fact that she felt the need to knock down the nonexistent presidential speculation about 2020.