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By Charles Style, The Bergen Record
Caren Z. Turner, the media and government affairs consultant who shuttles between Tenafly and Washington, D.C., was a member of an informal New Jersey network of fundraisers for Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign.
But as Clinton ponders a second run for the White House in 2016, Turner has taken a formal role with a group trying to persuade Clinton to make the leap.
Turner was named to the national fundraising operation for Ready for Hillary, the super PAC hoping to draft the former secretary of state into the 2016 race. Turner's title is officially a co-chairwoman of the group's National Finance Council.
The organization made something of a splash last week when it enlisted the support of Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri. McCaskill's endorsement signaled to the political world that the PAC was a serious, committed crusade backed by people with national standing, and not some well-intentioned grass-roots startup with a Facebook page. It's also "laying the groundwork for 2016 so that when Hillary is ready, we are ready," said Seth Bringman, a spokesman for the group.
But Turner said she was already onboard when high-profile Clinton loyalists, such as veteran political consultant James Carville, signed onto the project earlier this year. "Once I heard that, it was, 'I'm in,' " she said. "That's all I needed."
Turner is already busy, inviting donors and supporters to informational briefings scheduled this week in New York with Clinton A-list supporters such as Harold Ickes, former deputy chief of staff for President Bill Clinton, and Ellen Tauscher, a former California congresswoman who served as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs.
And she also is helping to raise money — the PAC has set a goal of reaching $1 million by July 1, she said.
Turner was a charter member of what was called The Group, a loose coalition of veteran New Jersey Democratic donors and Clinton enthusiasts who met during the 2008 campaign to plot fundraising strategy. Turner has already been tapping that network with the hopes of recruiting them for the Ready for Hillary operation.
But at least one member of The Group is not ready to rev up for the 2016 contest just yet.
"It seems like we just got out of one election and here's another one," said the Rev. Reginald T. Jackson, executive director of the Black Ministers Council of New Jersey and a bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. "So I want time to regroup from The Group." - See more at:
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