Former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton endorsed a Norman House candidate on Tuesday, Oct. 2.
Clinton posted on her Instagram story and Twitter asking voters to support “candidates with progressive values” who were endorsed by the Run For Something organization. Merleyn Bell, the Democratic candidate for Oklahoma State House District 45, was one of the candidates included in this message, among others across the nation.
Run For Something’s website states its strategic plan is to “help recruit and support young diverse progressives to run for down-ballot races in order to build a bench for the future.” The organization's website lists over 400 candidates under its candidate directory, including Bell.
Bell said she heard about the endorsement when she walked into her campaign office that afternoon, and that she was “stunned and excited” when a staffer told her the news.
“I didn’t know anything about it beforehand,” Bell said. “I didn’t know it was going to be be happening. It took me a minute to process, but then once I realized I was really excited about it.”
Clinton’s statements via social media specifically stated that Bell is a fifth-generation Oklahoman running for House District 45 and added a link to her campaign site, bell4norman.com.
Bell said the day before the endorsement, Oct. 1, was the one-year anniversary of her campaign announcement.
“I thought about where we were then when I first decided to run, and how much trepidation that was,” Bell said. “It was nice to come to this realization that we had put in a lot of hard work and that hard work had really paid off, and that the things that we had done and the kind of campaign that we had run had been noticed.”
Although Bell acknowledged that Clinton can be a “divisive figure” for some, she said she hopes people can view the endorsement as a recognition of the Bell campaign’s hard work.
“Regardless of what you think of (former) Secretary Clinton, she knows what it’s like to run a campaign,” Bell said. “I don’t think that she would have (endorsed us) if she didn’t believe that the campaign that we had run was worthy of that acknowledgement. So to me, that really meant a lot.”