The waiting is apparently over – former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will launch her 2016 presidential candidacy on Sunday through a video message on social media, according to a CNN report.
PolitickerNJ got reports from both sides of the aisle to see what they thought of Hillary’s long-anticipated second run as a Democratic candidate for the White House.
Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37): “It’s both positive and negative to have an ‘anointed nominee.’ It means that you can save a lot of financial and human resources for the November election. But that means that you’re not challenging each other and moving toward common goals. The Democratic base should be excited by [a 67-year-old] Hillary Clinton for the same reason that the Republicans were excited by Ronald Reagan when he was 69 years old in 1980. All of her experiences that led to her chronological age will make her a great President. But I think ideological differences will still come into play within the party, and I think that’s healthy. I’m probably a little bit to the left of Hillary on a variety of issues, but when it comes to Election Day, she will represent the larger percentage of the same values that I agree with.”
Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi (R-39): “Is she in fact the ‘anointed nominee’? I’m not so sure. But I think her age is inconsequential right now. There are people in their seventies who are heads of industry. Look at Loretta Weinberg – age doesn’t slow her down, and she’s got a decade on Hillary. I think that the age factor will be overlooked because she will be the first really strong female candidate for President. As a female, I would love to see a female President. But I’m not going to vote for a female candidate just because of their gender. For many women, economic issues are critical, and they will vote for the candidate who help them get some sense of economic security in their lives.”
Deirdre Woodbyrne, Republican consultant: “If the Democratic Party is 100 percent behind Hillary Clinton and they don’t have a messy primary where they are beating each other up, that’s a bonus for them. It’s a huge advantage fundraising wise and leading into the general election while Republicans have messy primaries. But I don’t think that if someone is not a Hillary supporter that they’re going to throw out serious policy differences just because she’s a woman. There are people who for about eight years have supported her and thought that this was her moment. I’m tired of when people talk about this process as a coronation. Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush don’t just have names, they have experience. And about her age – would you ask the same question if she was a man?”
Senator Ray Lesniak (D-20): “As a candidate, I’d rather have no opposition at any point in time. That’s probably a little bit contrary to conventional wisdom that says that a primary sharpens you and gets you ready, but there is no hard and fast rule on that. Hillary overcomes [any age issue] by being a woman, which in and of itself has an excitement factor. The fact that she’s a woman also outweighs any ideological issues.”
Senate Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-21): “Most presidential elections are a reaction to the last President. I think that the reaction presently would be anti-Barack Obama and would express a need for change, both internationally and domestically. So I don’t think the issue is as much about Hillary Clinton as it is if America is ready to elect another Democrat after the Obama administration. I don’t look at age alone as a significant factor, as long as they are in good health.”
Assemblyman Tim Eustace (D-38): “There are lot of exciting older people out there, and there are a lot of boring younger people. She’s got the experience and the gravitas that nobody else in the field has. I’m hoping that we have a normal, healthy discussion about the issues [during the primary process] that isn’t about pantsuits and haircuts. The unfair questions [about female candidates] began with [1984 Democratic vice presidential candidate] Geraldine Ferraro. You want somebody with experience. Their age is quite irrelevant. People go to Warren Buffett every day for advice, and he’s not a young man. What we want is wisdom, I would hope.”
Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-13): “What I want to see is the level of success of each party when they go in with anointed candidates versus when they have competition. We anointed Bob Dole in 1996, and that didn’t work out so well. I’m a believer that especially in a presidential election, competition is good thing. Regarding age, I’d be a flaming hypocrite if I condemned the Democrats for nominating someone in 2016 who is close to 70 years old when I wholeheartedly backed Ronald Reagan back in 1980, when he was 69 years old.”
Steve Lenox, Democratic consultant: “She’s clearly the favorite and the frontrunner, but I think we’ll see some other Democratic primary candidates throw their hats in the ring, such as [former Maryland Governor] Martin O’Malley. Hillary Clinton has been a leader of the Democratic Party and has done a great amount of work to serve her country, and I don’t think her age is a factor in anybody’s mind at all. Keep in mind, you’re talking to someone who used to work for [the late U.S. Senator] Frank Lautenberg, who was well above 70 years old when was running for the U.S. Senate but that didn’t slow him down a bit. At the end of the day, voters are going to look for the candidate who is in the best position to move our country forward in a positive way.”