It would have conservatives and Republicans pulling their hair and gnashing their teeth. But imagine a U.S. Senate with both Hillary Rodham Clinton and Carol Moseley-Braun. Yes, the former U.S. Senator from Illinois seems to be pondering a return to politics.
In 1998 Moseley-Braun lost her re-election bid to Republican Peter Fitzgerald, but President Clinton repaid the loyal shilling she did for his administration by appointing her ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa. Once that job ended, she returned home. Which, apparently, is not Chicago or even Illinois. The former senator now lives on a family-owned farm in Alabama. Moseley-Braun hasn’t kept in close contact with many of her former staffers, but those who have spoken her say she’s eager to get back into politics. “She wants to run again,” says a former staffer currently working in the House. “I don’t know who is encouraging her.”
According to the staffer, Moseley-Braun has kept her official residence in Chicago, although she hasn’t lived there in nearly three years. “Presumably she’d run against Fitzgerald in 2004.”
The former senator earned quite a reputation during her one term in Washington. She was known for being demanding of her staff and leading a soap-opera-esque private life. A fundraiser at the DNC says Moseley-Braun isn’t getting any encouragement to run out of that building. “God no. What a disaster that could be. But I’m sure Republicans would love it.”
What to make of Janet Reno‘s run for Florida governor? The release of January-to-March fundraising numbers by the various political campaigns would suggest no much. By Reno’s own figures, she raised about $350,000, giving her $1 million in the bank. By comparison, her challenger, lawyer Bill McBride, raised $400,000 for the quarter, giving him a little more than $1.1 million banked. On their face, the numbers don’t seem so dissimilar, but consider: Reno was the one actively courted by the Florida state Democratic Party, which was counting on her name recognition to pull in a cash bonanza in a state where she built her notoriety as Florida state attorney. It hasn’t worked out that way.
“We were hoping to challenge [Gov.] Jeb [Bush] financially,” says a state Democratic Party fundraiser. “Now he has doubled what our candidates each have in the bank. It doesn’t look good.” (And that was before Gov. Bush raised an additional $400,000 at a recent Washington, D.C. fundraiser held next door to Hillary Clinton‘s Embassy Row residence.)
Florida Democrats have been worried for some time, especially after it became clear that Reno’s old boss, Bill Clinton, wasn’t interested in helping Reno any time soon. “We misjudged that relationship, I think,” says the party money person. “We expected greater synergy between the national party and us.”
“McBride won’t be a bad candidate,” offers a Democratic National Committee board member. “He just isn’t the one we expected to pull away.”
Reno’s failure to catch fire is chalked up to her ongoing battle with Parkinson’s disease, which at times has limited her campaigning in state and her ability to raise money outside Florida. “It’s the out of state money that isn’t really coming in for her, and she needed that to really pull ahead of any of her competitors. It was the one real edge she had, national name recognition,” says the state fundraiser. “When Reno couldn’t draw on that, it made this race a toss up.”
GETTING THE MESSAGE
Apparently Bill Clinton made a big impression on the supermodels and other beautiful people he hung out with late last year at the hot London night spot, the Groucho Club. As The Prowler reported, Clinton showed up at the club one night and hung with daughter Chelsea, U2 frontman Bono, and any number of other celebrities, running up a sizable tab that was picked up by the Clinton client for whom he made a speech.
Now, according to a former Clinton staffer, the ex-president’s staff is giggling over the messages several women have left him at his New York offices. “Apparently he or one of his staff was handing out cards with his contact information on it at the club,” says the former staffer. “They want to know when he’ll be in London next.”
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