Ohioan’s book describes days before Hillary decided to run

Seth Bringman says super PAC’s efforts grassroots politicking at its best.

Those looking for dirt on the Democratic Party presidential front runner won’t find it in “Ready for Hillary: The Official, Inside Story of the Campaign before the Campaign.”

The author, Ohio Democratic operative and Columbus resident Seth Bringman, clearly feels tremendous loyalty to Hillary Clinton — one who was so willing to support her, in fact, that his initial work was pro bono.

But the book shows what it is like behind the scenes of a political campaign, who some of these people are and why they spend countless hours campaigning for a politician who not only may not win but may not even run.

The book debuted on Amazon this month as the number one Best Seller in the Elections, Political Advocacy, and Practical Politics categories. While it was self-published and released digitally, sales have gone so well that Bringman will be printing hard copies and signing autographs at book parties in Columbus and Washington, D.C.

The book documents the time before Clinton became a candidate, when the super PAC gathered some four million signatures of supporters urging her to run. Bringman describes the effort as grassroots politicking at its best.

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Bringman became the group’s communication director, falling into the job because he knew one of the founders.

This was no well-heeled organization. Its founders were two Northern Virginia Democrats — a 27-year-old reserve cop and a 61-year-old historian — who for a time ran the organization out of a drab office near a Chinese takeout place. Bringman was their first staff member.

Thus began an adventure that lasted two years, took Bringman through 45 states — his description of trying to maneuver the decked out “Ready for Hillary” bus make up some of the funnier scenes in the book — and resulted in Clinton starting her campaign with a lengthy contact list of supporters across the country.

This was no small feat: Because Clinton had been Secretary of State before running for president, she had not maintained a list of political supporters, according to Bringman. He and others organized bus tours, college visits and even stops at Katy Perry concerts to help build that list.

Bringman was familiar with Clinton, having worked for her 2008 presidential campaign and spending time at her national headquarters. It was in 2008 when he met Adam Parkhomenko, one of the super PAC’s two founders. After Parkhomenko offered him the job, he moved to Virginia and went to work.

Bringman, who worked as the communications director for the Ohio Democratic Party from 2009 to 2012, said his experience was unlike that of many super PACS; it was started by grassroots activists, rather than political insiders or multimillionaires. And it wasn’t organized to raise money for Clinton but to organize supporters and convince her to run. Two other organizations — Correct the Record and Priorities USA — took on strategic response and fundraising responsibilities, respectively.

“Our primary objective was to encourage her to run and to give her the confidence that, ‘OK, if and when you do this, you’ve got a million people behind you,’” Bringman said.

When Clinton did announce last April, the organization shut itself down.

Bringman is now back in Columbus, consulting for groups including the progressive super PAC American Bridge.

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