As her fans wait for Hillary Clinton to decide whether she will run for president in 2016, the organization known as Ready for Hillary is expanding its team — adding two members from Southern California to help build a network of supporters that it hopes will spring into action if Clinton decides to enter the race.
Thousand Oaks native Alissa Ko, who was the Obama campaign's Western regional operations director and organizer of its Asian American and Pacific Islander coalitions, is joining the organization as its deputy director. Ko, a graduate of UCLA, previously worked for Service Employees International Union Local 100 and Consumer Attorneys of California.
Michael Trujillo, a Los Angeles-based political consultant known for his aggressive opposition research, is joining the team as an unpaid senior advisor. Trujillo worked on Clinton’s 2008 campaign in California, Texas and North Carolina and was a political consultant for former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and City Councilman Jose Huizar. During the 2011 campaign, Trujillo was fired by the Huizar campaign for telling supporters in an email that the campaign planned to “put a political bullet” in the forehead of businessman Rudy Martinez, Huizar’s opponent.
As Ready for Hillary’s senior advisor for political outreach, Trujillo will work to integrate political leaders and organizations into the group’s events with a special focus on Southern California.
The group, which is independent but has been endorsed by prominent Clinton supporters, had raised $1.25 million at the end of July; it has limited donations to less than $25,000 per donor.
Ko joins a staff of about a half-dozen people based in Virginia and will run the day to day operations for the organization and oversee constituency building programs.
"We've already seen such incredible grassroots energy across the country and we really plan to build an effective program that harnesses that excitement in all 50 states,” Ko said.
Trujillo said the group’s constituency building program would try to engage potential campaign volunteers through phone calls and email—building beyond their recent Facebook campaign to amass a list of supporters.
“What I think we’re trying to do with this organization now is expand it beyond social media and actually make it more about face-to-face, one-on-one,” Trujillo said, noting that the group had been a presence at the recent Young Democrats of America conference in San Antonio. “This is giving a human touch to what Ready for Hillary has already built online and trying to use a different avenue to get folks involved and excited.”
Clinton--and before her, her husband former President Bill Clinton-has been enormously popular in California;she trounced Obama in the state's 2008 presidential primary. Trujillo said he hoped to show the group’s California supporters that they could have a big role in her potential campaign even if California is often overlooked by presidential candidates who raise money there but spend most of their time in key primary states.
“Because we had a taste in ’08 of what it means to be an early state, I think it woke up a lot of activists; it woke up a lot of volunteers; it woke up probably even more donors—and regardless of where California lies on the timeline of elections, that energy is still there to be harnessed,” he said.