National, state and local representatives were on hand for Monday’s kickoff event for the group African Americans for Hillary, an advocacy organization looking to mobilize the Hoosier State’s black voters. Experts say the campaign’s efforts to reach that particular demographic could prove crucial for the candidate’s success in the Hoosier state.
The Hilary Clinton campaign today trumpeted support from more than 50 African American leaders, from U.S. Representative Andre Carson to a constable in Indianapolis' Center Township.
Speakers touted the former Secretary of State’s experience working with children, alluding to her work with the Children’s Defense Fund and its president and founder, Marian Wright Edelman, herself an African-American woman.
Former State Senator Billie Breaux says she trusts Clinton to listen to members of the black community and praised her tenacity.
“Hilary Clinton has been in the trenches,” said Breaux. “She knows what it’s like to be down and get up.”
Indianapolis State Representative Greg Porter described Clinton as a unifying force with a lifetime of hard-won experience.
“She won’t build a wall to keep people away,” says Porter. “She will bring people together; that’s what the United States of America is about and the reason why I’m supporting her, and I encourage each and every one of you to support our proven leader.”
IPFW political science professor Mike Wolf says black voters proved to be a huge boon to Obama in the 2008 Indiana primary. Wolf says voters now see Clinton as an heir to the Obama legacy, which will be “an important part to connect to and will likely be an important part of her ultimate success were she to win.”
“The narrative of kind of continuing the Obama legacy and her in debates defending the Obama legacy against some of the criticism is another reason that kind of fits in well with African Americans and is a mobilizing point,” Wolf says.
Indiana has traditionally played second [or third] fiddle to other states during election season, thanks to its late-in-the-game primary. But this year’s tight democratic presidential race means the state is finally getting love from campaigns, including Clinton’s, who earlier this month opened a campaign office in Indianapolis.
The Indiana primary is May 3rd.