Feb. 8, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Bill Clinton Backs Loyalists

CQ Roll Call File Photo
In the Maryland Democratic primary for the 6th district seat, a robocall from President Bill Clinton was seen as the turning point on businessman John Delaney’s path to victory.

In Rothman’s first television ad, released last week, the Congressman touts the fact he was the first Member of the state’s Congressional delegation to back Obama. Unlike in Pennsylvania, where Altmire or Critz will face a competitive general election, the winner of the New Jersey primary is all but assured to win in November. With the two Democrats looking to burnish their party credentials in any way they can, Clinton’s endorsement could be significant.

Pascrell’s campaign declined to comment on whether Clinton might offer an endorsement before the June 5 primary.

Many in the party vehemently deny that Clinton has an ax to grind. Candidates and operatives who have benefited from his support describe a nearly endless reservoir of loyalty from him.

Some of that loyalty has extended down even to municipal races for former  supporters and staffers.

Sherman has known Clinton since the 1980s and even backed him against his home-state governor, Jerry Brown, in the 1992 Democratic presidential primary.

Clinton’s involvement in a race can mean appearing at campaign rallies and in direct-mail pieces, added cache, increased momentum and access to a wealth of political wisdom.

But his preferred candidates don’t always win.

He raised eyebrows within the party in 2010 when he backed former Colorado Speaker Andrew Romanoff in the primary against Sen. Michael Bennet. Romanoff, who had backed Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2008, lost the contest to the sitting Senator.

Clinton is travelling to El Paso, Texas, on Tuesday to campaign for Rep. Silvestre Reyes, who faces a competitive May primary. Reyes was a supporter of Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2008.

One of the most effective ways the former president has been deployed is through robocalls.

Clinton proved earlier this month in Maryland he can still have a major influence on a race. Weeks out from Election Day in the state’s hotly contested 6th district Democratic primary, he endorsed businessman John Delaney. At first glance, it seemed to come out of nowhere that a former president would endorse a political neophyte like Delaney.

But Delaney was a bundler for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2008 campaign. As it turned out, the endorsement was the turning point in the campaign and Delaney went on to a landslide win over a state legislator for whom the district had been drawn.

“I think loyalty matters to him,” said Delaney campaign manager Justin Schall, who has done past advance work for Clinton. “But I also believe he took a hard look at the race, and I believe he understood that John Delaney has the best chance of helping Democrats gain control of the House again.”

Shira Toeplitz contributed to this report.

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