WASHINGTON: Billionaire financier George Soros, a major Democratic donor, is backing an effort to persuade former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton to run for president in 2016, a spokesman said yesterday.
Soros, 83, has pledged $25,000 to political action committee Ready For Hillary, the largest and best-funded independent group backing a potential Clinton candidacy. The wife of former president Bill Clinton would be widely viewed as the favourite for the Democratic presidential nomination if she decides to run.
“His support for Ready for Hillary is an extension of his long-held belief in the power of grassroots organising,” said Soros spokesman Michael Vachon.
Soros’ pledge puts him on the PAC’s National Finance Council, along with several other major Democratic donors and officials, the group said. But symbolically, Soros’ support could mean much more — particularly at a time when Clinton’s supporters are seeking to ward off potential challengers to her in Democratic presidential primaries.
Soros was a huge financial backer of Democrats during the 2004 election cycle, donating an estimated $27.5m. He also contributed heavily to Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008. Clinton lost the Democratic nomination to Obama that year.
During last year’s election, however, Soros largely stayed on the sidelines, expressing a distaste for new election laws that allowed unlimited fund raising and spending by new “Super PACs” and non-profit groups. Soros eventually supported some independent Democratic groups during the November election.
Clinton, 65, a former US senator from New York whose four-year run as secretary of state ended in February, has acknowledged that she is considering another run for president but has said she likely will not decide until next year. In the meantime, she has begun to look like a candidate — staying in the spotlight by appearing at a series of paid speeches and fund-raisers.