South Florida’s Democratic members of Congress love the idea of President Hillary Clinton.
Almost all are already supporting her not-yet-existing campaign for the 2016 Democratic nomination.
“I proudly supported Secretary Clinton’s last presidential campaign and continue to believe that she would make an outstanding president,” U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch said in an e-mail.
He wasn’t in Congress, representing Broward and Palm Beach counties, when Clinton lost the 2008 nomination to Barack Obama. But he was a big Clinton supporter and delegate on her behalf to the Democratic National Convention. Former President Bill Clinton headlined a Deutch congressional campaign fundraiser in 2010.
U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, who also represents Broward and Palm Beach counties, was mayor of West Palm Beach when Clinton ran the last time. Frankel was with her then and is again.
“I endorsed her he last time too. I feel even stronger about it now,” Frankel said in an interview.
“It’s about her experience and about her integrity and her own personal ability. I think she brings all that to the table, and I’d love to see the first woman president,” Frankel said.
She said Clinton would have “huge support” in South Florida if she runs. She said there would be a surprising amount of support for Clinton from Republican women.
U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, another Broward and Palm Beach county member of Congress, agreed that her support in South Florida would be “immensely strong.”
Hastings was a major Clinton supporter in 2008 even though some other African-American politicians were supporting Obama.
“I supported Hillary Clinton in the last election, and I felt very good about the fact that she and Barack Obama joined forces,” when he appointed her secretary of state.
He said it’s time for the country to have a female president.
“We finally break the final barrier … for women in this country. And there’s no better-prepared person in this country than Hillary Clinton to do that,” he said.
Skeptics think that the aura of inevitability around Clinton – similar to what existed during the 2008 primary campaign she lost to President Barack Obama – is dangerous.
Frankel said a fresh, underdog candidate can capture voters’ imaginations, but she doesn’t think that will happen again.
And Hastings said it’s helpful that many people involved in Obama’s campaign have joined the efforts to begin organizing and raising money for Clinton. “You are beginning to see the Obama political effort morph into a Clinton political effort.” Hastings said.
The Washington, D.C., news organization The Hill queried D.C. Democrats about their preferences, and reported that another South Floridian on the supporters list is U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, a Miami Democrat whose district includes part of south Broward.
Staying officially neutral is U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, who was a national co-chairwoman of Clinton’s campaign in 2008.
She’s now Obama’s handpicked chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, a position that requires neutrality.
“It’ll be my responsibility to manage our nominating contests and so I’m going to have to make sure that I can do that in a neutral and objective way,” she said. “The charter for the Democratic party does not allow for me to make an endorsement until we have a nominee.”
If Clinton runs, Wasserman Schultz agreed with her colleagues that she’d have strong support in Democratic South Florida.
“She had had strong support all across Florida in 2008. She won our primary, which was January 25th of that year. I think she would have strong support – but if Vice President [Joe] Biden chooses to run I think he also enjoys support,” she said.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun