Hillary Clinton's Hollywood Backers Mobilize for Expected Presidential Run
She likely will announce a second bid after the November midterms as Howard Gordon and Dana Walden begin to rally: "People have been very 'Let's wait and see' until now. People are starting to get excited," says Gordon
This story first appeared in the Oct. 3 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
It's back to the future for Hollywood's Democratic activists, many of whom are convinced that former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will run again for president and are lining up to show support.
As Clinton, 66, was in New York on Sept. 21 for the annual Clinton Global Initiative gathering, the leading pro-Clinton super PAC held an event for more than 70 supporters at the Pacific Palisades home of producer Howard Gordon and wife Cambria. The event was organized by the Ready for Hillary super PAC, which bills itself as a group "encouraging" Clinton to run while laying the financial "groundwork" for a campaign. Several of those at the gathering, co-hosted by producer Ryan Murphy and husband David Miller, told THR that they believe Clinton likely will declare her candidacy soon after the November midterm elections.
Murphy, a key Barack Obama fundraiser, says he wasn't hesitant to join "Team Hillary" this time. "It's very important to get a woman in the White House," he says. "That's why I'm supporting her. I've been inspired by her tenacity. I've been inspired by her grace under pressure."
Clinton was blindsided in the 2008 race when prominent Hollywood Democrats — including David Geffen, who had backed her husband, Bill — sided with Obama. Gordon, who supported Hillary in 2008, says he believed showbiz would rally around Hillary this time but was surprised by the strong turnout for the super PAC event. "People have been very 'Let's wait and see' until now," says Gordon. "People are starting to get excited."
The event, which featured a concert by Gordon's neighbor Burt Bacharach and an appearance by Sen. Barbara Boxer, was Ready for Hillary's largest West Coast fundraiser so far. (Tickets were priced from $1,000 to $2,500.) Among those in attendance were Fox's Dana Walden, screenwriter Billy Ray and former Fox president Gail Berman. Michael Douglas, who was out of town, sent a contribution.
"People have been whispering about this for so long, it would be so disappointing if it doesn't happen," says Walden, adding that friends with ties to the Clintons have told her Hillary definitely is running. "There's a huge groundswell of support that's starting already."
David Wolf, finance consultant for Ready for Hillary, said he received calls "from out of the blue" from Hollywood people wanting to attend the fundraiser.
"The enthusiasm for a presidential run by Secretary Clinton is growing tremendously," Wolf said. "More than twice as many supporters attended the reception as did for a similar event in December. As we approach 2015, the excitement level is building towards a possible campaign."