The Lincoln Chafee for President juggernaut is poised to draw its first major challenge this weekend, as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton plans to announce her 2016 White House bid on either Saturday or Sunday.
Business Insider's Hunter Walker reports:
A source with knowledge of Hillary Clinton's plans has confirmed she will officially announce her 2016 presidential bid on Saturday or Sunday. This will be imminently followed by campaign travel.
A spokesperson for Clinton's campaign team did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.
Clinton's plans to kickoff her campaign this weekend could complicate Rubio's kickoff. Both Cruz and Paul enjoyed substantial coverage after their announcements. Cruz also saw his poll numbers improve following his official launch. Coverage of Clinton's announcement and subsequent trip could diminish the attention give to Rubio's kickoff due to her status as a strong frontrunner.
Clinton's impending announcement comes seven years after her hard-fought 2008 primary battle with then-Sen. Barack Obama. Once regarded as the inevitable Democratic nominee, Clinton suddenly appeared very evitable as the Obama campaign gained steam in the late fall of 2007, powering him to victory in the Iowa caucuses. Though Clinton showed remarkable staying power in the race, she was unable to overcome lingering liberal resentments over her vote for the Iraq war, and she conceded the nomination in June 2008.
Though she looked likely to remain firmly ensconced in her role as a senator from New York, the former first lady emerged as Obama's surprise pick for secretary of state following his election, and Clinton's popularity enjoyed a major boost during her four-year tenure as a globe-trotting diplomat. Since stepping down from Foggy Bottom and re-engaging in domestic politics, Clinton's popularity ratings have come back down to earth, but she finds herself in a much stronger position to claim the Democratic nod than at any point in the 2008 cycle. In Real Clear Politics' average of recent polls, Clinton leads the Democratic field by nearly 50 percentage points, while she never held more than a 33-point lead during her previous campaign. Most polls also show Clinton leading her prospective GOP challengers, although she will have to convince voters to support a Democratic president for a third consecutive term, a feat that hasn't been accomplished since the Roosevelt-Truman years.
While Clinton boasts broad Democratic support, some progressives remain wary, citing her foreign policy hawkishness and voicing concerns about whether her centrist economic instincts are attuned to the ascendant brand of progressive populism represented by figures like Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Though Clinton remains closely tied to Democratic centrists, she has also sought to placate the party's progressive base, expressing concern over income inequality and dispatching aides to meet with top progressive groups.