As rumors mount that outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may run for president in 2016, the former First Lady took steps to solidify her relationships with some Democrats by sending hand-signed notes to candidates who got bested in close congressional races. For example, Nate Shinagawa, who narrowly lost his challenge to GOP Rep. Tom Reed in Western New York, received a missive from Ms. Clinton two days after his defeat. In her letter, Ms. Clinton offered some supportive words and encouragement for Mr. Shinagawa’s future political endeavors.
“You should be proud of your campaign and the dialogue you had with voters about the values we hold dear as Democrats,” Ms. Clinton wrote. “Thank you for accepting the challenge of seeking public office and for your commitment to creating a better future for the American people.”
Ms. Clinton’s letter to Mr. Shinagawa was not an isolated incident. Sources with at least two other losing Democratic congressional campaigns told Politicker their candidates received similar letters.
“I hope you will find some time now for some well deserved rest and relaxation; we will continue needing your voice in the public square in the years to come,” she continued in her letter to Mr. Shinagawa, who posted it on his social media accounts last week. “In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, ‘The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.’ Onward!”
Multiple sources who have worked with Ms. Clinton during her lengthy political career told us they were unaware of her sending similar letters in the past. With speculation she may be considering a White House bid in 2016 reaching a fever pitch, almost any partisan behavior by Ms. Clinton will unavoidably be seen as a piece of a potential presidential campaign. Of course, consolation letters are not necessarily evidence that she intends to run for office again, but it’s clear Ms. Clinton, who’s soon leaving her job in President Barack Obama’s administration, seems to be interested in keeping her political support alive.
We reached out to Philippe Reines, Ms. Clinton’s spokesperson at the State Department, to see if he could shed any light on the motivation behind the letters. He responded with a rather cryptic one line email:
“Well, ‘When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best,’ but Hallmark doesn’t have a card suitable to the occasion…”