WASHINGTON -- Some of Hillary Clinton's most ardent supporters just are not willing to let go -- and they've mounted a push to get her into next year's White House race by making donations of $20.12 to her old presidential campaign committee.
A review of Clinton's most recent Federal Election Commission filing finds dozens of $20.12 donors, all of whom have donated before, since contributions that small are not reported until a giver's total exceeds $200. There are likely others whose totals fall below that threshold.
"The purpose was to to encourage her to reconsider her candidacy for 2012," said Will Bower, a Clinton die-hard who ponied up his $20.12 on Aug. 13, around the time many of the other like-minded donors cut checks.
"Many of us still believe she was the victor in 2008, if not on paper, in spirit," said Bower, who ended up voting for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008.
Clinton had been the focus of a flurry of speculation about a possible Democratic challenger for President Obama shortly before the burst of contributions.
"It was essentially a call of encouragement," Bower said. "There's a strong Facebook community for it," he added, noting that one he is involved with boasts about 1,500 members.
Most recognize that it is very unlikely that Clinton, the current secretary of state, will run for president again in 2012 -- Clinton has said repeatedly she's done with electoral politics.
But Bower and others like him are not giving up hope. "We feel that she would have been the better president, and would be," Bower said.
Even if Clinton was planning to mount a bid, her 2008 campaign fund isn't currently in good enough shape to get her going. It's down to just $109,039.87, and the campaign still owes $274,010 to the consulting firm Penn Schoen Berland, whose CEO, Mark Penn, served as the Clinton campaign's chief strategist.
Small-dollar donors are not exactly keeping the campaign fund afloat; they contributed just $4,772.88 of the committee's $40,750.01 in receipts in the third quarter. The rest came from bank interest and from renting out the committee's most valuable remaining asset -- its list of donors who wanted to see Clinton become president.
Many professional fundraisers have paid the committee for access to those names, as have numerous Democratic candidates. The most recent financial disclosure report revealed that one such candidate is Elizabeth Warren, who is challenging Republican Sen. Scott Brown for his seat in Massachusetts.
Warren's campaign shelled out $8,275.98 for access to the Clinton list. Clinton ran well in Massachusetts in 2008, winning 55 percent of the Democratic primary vote, and Warren's campaign could also use the national network of Clinton donors to tap activists looking for a new female icon in politics on the left.