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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Hillary Clinton eyes New York City campaign headquarters

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at a Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on Jan. 21, 2015. 
John Woods/The Canadian Press/AP

By Alex Seitz-Wald

If Hillary Clinton decides to run for president, her campaign is likely to be headquartered in New York City, as opposed to the suburbs where advisers had previously planned, three sources familiar with Clinton’s planning told msnbc.
Choosing a new home base is a key item on former secretary of state’s to-do list as she prepares for an almost certain 2016 presidential campaign launch, which could come as early as April. Her small personal staff moved to new offices in midtown Manhattan in August, but the space is far too small to accommodate the massive operation needed for a presidential campaign.
While Clinton and her advisers had previously eyed the Westchester County city of White Plains, about 25 miles north of Manhattan, Clinton has now more or less decided on a location in New York City, likely either Brooklyn or Queens, according to three knowledgeable Democrats, who spoke on the condition of anonymity since they were not authorized to discuss the matter with the press.
A base in gentrifying Brooklyn or Queens could help give Clinton’s campaign a youthful feel, and would likely be a relief for Democratic operatives dreading a relocation to the suburb, or a daily commute from New York City. White Plains is about an hour from Manhattan by public transit.
“White Plains is not conducive for the mainly younger generation of political staff that is going to make up the majority of her headquarters,” said one Democrat familiar with the planning discussions. A more central location “will be more inviting for the long hours a campaign will expect of them.”
And while White Plains is a middle-class city, some Democrats worried about the optics of Clinton putting her main office in the affluent Westchester County, as the choice could contribute to the narrative that Clinton is out of touch. The former secretary of state and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, have a home in nearby Chappaqua, which has the become a locus of campaign planning.
One thing Clinton and her advisers have been dead set against is headquartering her campaign in Washington, D.C., again. Her 2008 presidential campaign was based in a former Immigration and Naturalization Services building in a suburb of the capital, and being so close to the heart of the political-media industry was corrosive, former staffers say. Meanwhile, Obama campaign veterans say their outside-the-beltway Chicago location was a boon.
Brooklyn is one of four finalists to host the Democratic National Convention in 2016, and Clinton is close with New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio, who managed her 2000 Senate campaign.
A Clinton spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

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