Building the Hillary Clinton campaign in Tampa
Mark it down: The 2016 presidential election effectively begins in Florida on Oct. 22. That's when former Tampa Mayor Sandy Freedman hosts a low-dollar fundraiser/informational session on Ready For Hillary political committee gearing up and pushing for a presidential bid by the former secretary of state.
"I've been having people ask me since before she left the secretary of state's office, 'What's she going to do? Is she going to run? How can I help out?'" said Freedman, who goes way back with the Clintons. "There's a tremendous amount of excitement."
The event will be at Tampa's Mise en Place restaurant from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and the suggested contribution is just $25. Also on hand will be Craig Smith, Bill Clinton's chief of staff in Arkansas, who later worked in the Clinton White House and managed Joe Lieberman's campaign.
Bill Clinton has some history with Tampa. Just three days after the little known governor announced his candidacy to take on the then-immensely popular George H.W. Bush in late 1991, he visited Tampa. He told Mayor Freedman he wanted a visit a school with many at-risk students, so she arranged a visit to Alexander Elementary. Clinton, Smith, and Freedman arrived at the school, where a banner hung over the front door: "Welcome Bob Clinton."