The Faith for Hillary website went live on Friday morning, Faith Voters for Hillary, and the group behind it has begun the process of filing as a PAC. Faith for Hillary began informally about a year ago as a network for people of faith who support Hillary Clinton, and it is co-led by Burns Strider, vice president of the Democratic super-PAC American Bridge and senior advisor of its Correct the Record project, and Rick Hendrix, a Nashville gospel and country music promoter who also supported Clinton in the 2008 cycle. Faith for Hillary, Strider says, is not connected with either Ready for Hillary or American Bridge.
The group’s social accounts have been growing slowly but steadily over the past year: @Faith4Hillary now has 34,000 Twitter followers and 40,000 likes on Facebook. Strider, a Baptist, and Hendrix, a Pentecostal turned non-denominational Christian, share the outreach responsibilities. “As she makes up her mind, we just want to provide the space,” explains Strider. “It is not necessarily encouraging or saying, You’ve got to run, but it is saying, We are here, we are organizing, and we are really ready to support if you do get into this but if not we are going to support you regardless because of the mission you have to play out, whatever position you choose to do.” He adds: “Obviously, I hope she runs.”
Faith for Hillary has also started hosting small breakfasts for faith leaders. The first one took place in Little Rock, Ark. on March 26, and about 15 local clergy and civic leaders came, mostly Baptists and Methodists. Most attendees were new supporters, says Strider, but some of her 2008 supporters joined as well. A second breakfast is planned for next Friday in Columbia, South Carolina.
The breakfasts also serve to drum up support for Democratic candidates in key 2014 races. Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor is running for re-election in Arkansas against Republican Rep. Tom Cotton, who has had support from the Tea Party. Democratic state senator Vincent Sheehen is running for governor of South Carolina against incumbent Republican Nikki Haley. Other breakfasts are in the works, but none are on the calendar yet. “The breakfasts that we have will be places where we can also help turnout voters and do some organizing around in 2014,” Strider notes.
Hillary Clinton herself, who has no affiliation with Faith for Hillary, will give the keynote address to the United Methodist Women Assembly in Louisville on Saturday. A lifelong Methodist, Clinton addressed the United Methodist City Society in November for the group’s 175th anniversary, and she praised the Methodist women for their early social work in the infamous Five Points New York slum.