Hillary Clinton’s long year on a difficult trail

A year after launching her presidential campaign, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocratic convention lineup to include Ocasio-Cortez, Clinton, Warren: reports Trump brushes off view that Russia denigrating Biden: 'Nobody's been tougher on Russia than I have' Kanye West 'not denying' his campaign seeks to damage Biden MORE appears close to her goal of winning the Democratic nomination. 

At the same time, real doubts have emerged about the strength of her candidacy, given her long primary fight against Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's Campaign Report: US officials say Russia, China are looking to sow discord in election Warren urges investment in child care workers amid pandemic Progressive candidate Bush talks about her upset primary win over Rep. Clay MORE, the Independent senator from Vermont who wasn’t seen a serious challenger to Clinton a year ago. 


Clinton hopes a win next week in her adopted state of New York, where she is leading in polls, will put aside doubts and signal that she’s ready to move forward from a position of strength. 

Here’s a look back at the highs and lows of Clinton’s year on the campaign trail. 

April 12, 2015 

Clinton announces her second run for the White House with a video featuring a kaleidoscope of everyday Americans beginning new chapters of their lives: Two men tying the knot, a recent graduate looking for her first job and a young couple expecting their first child, among others. 

Unlike the 2007 video from inside the former first lady’s home that launched her first White House bid, the new video took the focus off Clinton, who didn’t appear until the 1:35 marker.

She followed up the launch with a road trip from New York to Iowa, where she held her first campaign event: a roundtable with a group of educators and students. 

April 30, 2015 

Judicial Watch announces a lawsuit against the State Department that seeks documents related to Clinton’s use of an iPhone or an iPad to send official emails during her time as secretary of State. Seven days later, Judicial Watch also files seven lawsuits regarding her use of a private email server at State. The lawsuits are related to records on the 2012 Benghazi attacks, the Clinton Foundation and emails sent by top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, as well. 

The controversy will continually shadow Clinton’s year on the campaign trail. 

May 8, 2015

The House Benghazi Committee issues an interim report including more than 20,000 pages of emails and other State Department documents. At the time, the committee already had held more than 24 classified and unclassified briefings.

June 13, 2015

Clinton officially kicks off her campaign with a speech from New York’s Roosevelt Island, striking a populist tone and slamming Republicans for their economic policies.

June 29, 2015

Two inspectors general conclude that Clinton’s private email accounts include “hundreds of potentially classified emails.”

The drip-drip-drip on the email controversy will continue throughout a difficult summer for the former secretary of State, who sees her approval ratings plummet amid doubts about the strength of her candidacy for the presidency. 

Polls begin to suggest that Sanders could be a stronger challenger than expected, and there are murmurs about Vice President Biden entering the race. 

August 18, 2015

A frustrated Clinton responds to a reporter in Las Vegas asking if she ever “wiped” her server by saying: “What, like with a cloth or something?” The comment, captured on video, quickly goes viral. 

It’s known that the FBI is involved with the investigation of Clinton’s use of the server and whether any classified information was mishandled. 

Clinton says whether she was using a personal account or a government account, “I did not send classified material. And I did not receive any material that was marked or designated classified — which is the way you know whether something is.”

September 7, 2015

Clinton’s campaign, dogged by the email story, attempts to move past it by speaking to a reporter at The New York Times. The result is a piece that says Clinton will show more humor and heart on the campaign trail. The story leads to a charm offensive of sorts for the candidate on late night and daytime talk shows. 

October 13, 2015

Clinton gives a strong performance at the first Democratic debate against Sanders and three other primary rivals: Jim Webb, Lincoln Chafee and Martin O’Malley. 

Her best moment, however, comes when Sanders says he will not make her private email server an issue in his campaign. 

“The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails,” Sanders says, turning to Clinton. 

“Enough of the emails. Let’s talk about the real issues facing America,” he said to cheers from the Democratic audience. 

It was a big moment for Clinton and one Sanders may regret.

October 22, 2015

Clinton sits for nearly 11 hours to take questions from Republicans on the Benghazi panel.

The marathon session is a big win for the former secretary, with Republicans unable to make any clean hits on her record. 

Coming after the strong debate performance — and one day after Biden said he would not run for president — it concludes the best eight days of the campaign for Clinton. 

November 19, 2015

On the heels of the terror attacks in Paris, Clinton delivers a hefty foreign policy speech. 

The election’s turn to foreign affairs also helps her at the second Democratic debate, on Nov. 14. 

Perhaps more surprisingly, it also appears to help GOP presidential candidate Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpJoe Arpaio loses bid for his old position as sheriff Trump brushes off view that Russia denigrating Biden: 'Nobody's been tougher on Russia than I have' Trump tees up executive orders on economy but won't sign yet MORE, who over the next few months emerges as a stronger candidate on the Republican side and a potential general election rival to Clinton. 

January 4, 2016

Former President Clinton comes off the sidelines and appears at his first solo campaign rally for his wife.

Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonGiuliani says Black Lives Matter is 'domestic terrorist' group We have the resources to get through this crisis, only stupidity is holding us back Biden needs to bring religious Americans into the Democratic fold MORE will be a major character in the ensuing campaign, as aspects of his 1990s presidency are debated on the trail, including the 1994 crime bill, welfare reform and his work on financial regulation. 

February 20, 2016

Clinton wins the Nevada caucuses, getting a huge victory after Sanders blew her out in the New Hampshire primary and nearly defeated her in Iowa’s caucuses. 

Sanders had hoped to win in Nevada and went all out to defeat Clinton, but she is able to hold on for a win that underlines her status as the Democratic front-runner. 

As the race moves to South Carolina and other Southern states, Clinton begins to dominate and builds a huge delegate lead. 

But it’s Nevada that really starts the process. 

March 15, 2016

Clinton wins five states, including the general election battleground of Ohio. 

The victories are important for Clinton after a narrow but surprising loss to Sanders in Michigan that had given her rival new hope on the campaign trail. 

April 5, 2016

Sanders defeats Clinton in Wisconsin — his fifth victory in six contests. It continues a strong stretch for the Vermont senator, who vows to fight Clinton until the end of the primary process in June. 

April 6, 2016

Sanders says Clinton is not qualified to be president. 

The comments launch a new fight between the two campaigns, underlining a new nasty edge to the race. 

Sanders backtracks on the remarks two days later.