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Beyond Hillary Clinton: Eight Democrats who might run if she doesn’t

There are two potential Democratic presidential fields for 2016. One includes Hillary Rodham Clinton, the other doesn’t. If former Secretary of State Clinton runs, she will scare away most if not all serious challengers for the Democratic nomination. But if she doesn’t, there’s a wide array of potential candidates. Here’s our list: 

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton addresses the 51st Delta Sigma Theta National Convention in Washington on July 16, 2013.

Cliff Owen/AP/File

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1. Hillary Rodham Clinton

The close runner-up for the Democratic nomination four years ago, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, would enter the 2016 cycle as her party’s instant front-runner. If anything, Secretary Clinton has boosted her stock since 2008, when she buried the hatchet with Barack Obama and took on the tough portfolio at State.

She earned high marks for her energetic performance. And for 10 straight years, she has topped the Gallup poll as America’s most admired woman. Now Clinton acknowledges she may run for president again, after insisting that after 20 years as first lady, senator, presidential candidate, and the US’s top diplomat she wanted to put her feet up.  

“She’s running, but she doesn’t know it yet,” a Clinton confidant authorized to talk told New York magazine. “It’s just like a force of history. It’s inexorable, it’s gravitational. I think she actually believes she has more say in it than she actually does.”

For now, she fills her time giving speeches, writing a book, and working on an early-childhood initiative through her family’s foundation – now called the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

In addition, a high-powered political-action committee called Ready for Hillary is going gang-busters, raising money and setting the table for a campaign. Several former top Clinton White House aides, such as James Carville, Harold Ickes, and Craig Smith, are advising the group. Mrs. Clinton herself is not involved.

A big majority of rank-and-file Democrats are also ready for Hillary. Some 65 percent of Democratic primary voters want Clinton as their party’s nominee, according to a CNN/ORC poll released in September. Vice President Joe Biden came in second with 10 percent.

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