Hillary Clinton to headline first public campaign event of 2018

Hillary Clinton will headline her first public campaign event of the midterms on Monday, a Clinton spokesman tells CNN, when she attends a roundtable in Chicago with JB Pritzker, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Illinois.

The event, which will include Juliana Stratton, the Democrats’ lieutenant governor candidate, will be a roundtable with high school girls and focus on stressing the importance of leadership, according to the Pritzker campaign.

Clinton has spent much of 2018 out of the political fray or headlining fundraisers for a handful of Democratic groups and campaigns. Top operatives from the party worried that Clinton returning to the campaign trail could invigorate Republicans who rejected her in 2016.

That issue is less potent in Illinois, where early voting has begun. Clinton grew up in suburban Chicago and won the state by 16% in 2016. And polls have consistently shown Pritzker with a sizable lead over his opponent, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Pritzker has long been a prolific Democratic fundraiser and donor and backed Clinton’s failed 2016 presidential campaign. Clinton also helped Pritzker during his Democratic primary by recording a robocall for the billionaire entrepreneur.

Clinton is also not the first Democratic heavyweight to campaign for Pritzker. Former President Barack Obama, who rose to political power in Chicago, delivered a stinging indictment of President Donald Trump last month in central Illinois and followed up the event by visiting a cafe with Pritzker.

Later this month, Clinton will headline an event with Andrew Gillum, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Florida who was a campaign surrogate for Clinton in 2016.