READ: Clinton Foundation defends foreign donations
In December, Clinton and her advisers planned an April announcement. But this winter some longtime Clinton confidantes who favored waiting to begin the full-fledged campaign in the summer appeared to be gaining momentum in their push to delay, multiple sources told CNN. They argued for a formal declaration to come in July, coinciding with the third fundraising quarter of the year, and for her to just signal in April that she would run, perhaps by launching an exploratory committee.
Many within Clinton’s camp advocated she stay out of the political fray to protect her high poll numbers as the broad Republican field sling arrows at each other.
But last week at the Conservative Political Action Conference, a parade of potential Republican presidential candidates showed they plan to multi-task, collectively taking aim at Hillary Clinton even as they verbally cannibalized each other in the early fight for the GOP nomination.
Some of that pressure, the source said, has been created by the likely candidacy of Jeb Bush, who has major support from Republican donors.
Bush has been raising money for a likely presidential run at an impressive clip, with some events reportedly bringing in more than $4 million. He launched his Right to Rise PAC in early January and has since been traveling the country picking up checks for his expected campaign.
There is no concern that Clinton will struggle with fundraising once she declares her candidacy or launched some sort of official campaign body. The Clintons have long been prodigious fundraisers and a cadre of top Democratic money men have already lined up behind the frontrunner.
Still, some Clinton aides, according to one Democrat familiar with internal deliberations, have expressed concern that waiting to launch a campaign in full until summer will have her playing catch up to a number of Republican candidates. Clinton lent her 2008 campaign more than $13 million of her own money and finally paid off her $12 million debt to hundreds of creditors in 2013, a situation that made her very uncomfortable, according to multiple sources.