Durbin: Not Ready To Endorse Hillary

Kerry Picket Political Reporter
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WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin told The Daily Caller Wednesday he is not ready to make any endorsement yet for any Democratic presidential candidate.

“It’s still a little early to be making endorsements,” Durbin said. “I’ve said nice things about my former colleague in the Senate and we’ll wait a little while before any formal endorsements.”

Durbin told Roll Call on Tuesday that he has no issues meeting with any other Democrat who may want to primary Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination — including former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.

Durbin told TheDC he has not spoken with O’Malley yet.

Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings thought Clinton did a “very good job” on her roll out when she announced her candidacy.

“I’m very glad to see that she had a populist message. I think that’s very, very important. The American people are looking for champions that understand what they go through on a day-to-day basis,” he said.

Will he endorse her? Cummings replied, “First of all, I believe she is going to be the nominee. And if she is the nominee, I’m going to be supportive of her enthusiastically, by the way. We got Martin O’Malley from our state, Maryland, whom I have a lot of admiration for, and I will take a look at that when it comes.”

Cummings told TheDC he would still consider O’Malley, however.

“Sure. Of course, I mean, he’s my governor. He and I have done a lot of things together in Maryland, but clearly, as I’ve said to many people, I think Hillary Clinton without a doubt will be the nominee. And I think [O’Malley] probably understands that.”

He later added, “So I don’t waste a lot of time. I like to hear what others have to say, but when it comes to spending a lot of time on others, it’s hard for me to do that knowing that she is probably going to be the one.”

Maryland Rep. Donna Edwards told TheDC she has “always been a big Hillary Clinton fan” but is not thinking about endorsements right now as she is prepping for her own Senate race.

“I’m running my race for the United States Senate and I don’t really want to comment on any other race,” Edwards responded.

Texas Rep. Raul Grijalva thought Clinton’s announcement last week “was effective” and “connected with people.”

“We’ve seen how the other large scale ones have gone and they haven’t gone very well and I think it’s the way to build momentum and begin to start answering some of the hard questions, whether it’s trade or income inequality,” he told The DC.

When asked if he was endorsing her, he replied, “I feel she’s a good candidate. I feel her comments on income inequality and reshuffling the deck was appropriate.” He continued, “That’s what people are feeling out there and a trade deal for the sake of a deal, if it’s not good for the American people we shouldn’t support, I think that was a good comment as well.”

Other Democrats are ready explicitly to support Clinton’s candidacy early on. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer told reporters Wednesday that although O’Malley is a friend, he still supports Clinton.

“I spoke to Governor O’Malley. Governor O’Malley is a friend. I think he is very, very able. I think he had a very successful tenure as governor. I’m for Hillary Clinton,” he said at his weekly pen and pad.

Michigan Rep. John Conyers told TheDC he is supporting Clinton’s run for the presidency and if another Democrat were to jump into the primary, he would still back her candidacy.

“Another person won’t make any difference. Yeah [I’m endorsing Hillary Clinton],” he said.

TheDC learned Virginia Rep. Gerry Connolly is also an early Clinton endorser.

Connolly remarked, “I didn’t go to Iowa and I didn’t go to New Hampshire, but it looks like a very sensible roll that need s to be doing what she needs.”

Georgia Rep. John Lewis also endorsed Clinton, telling TheDC she did “a superb job” during her campaign’s roll out. “She’s out there. She listened to people. She’s working hard. She’s going to be a great candidate. I’ve supported her much earlier and I’m going to support her.”

California Rep. Mike Honda agrees saying he already endorsed Clinton and she dealt with “all the barbs and criticisms” well.

“She went to places where there were small groups where she could talk and have a little more intimacy with the people that she’s meeting with. I think she’s going to handle herself real well,” Honda said.

Clinton also has former Virginia Rep. Jim Moran on her side as well. “I’m glad she’s out and running,” the retired congressman said.