Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton appears at a rally in Old Town Alexandria, Va., with Virginia Gov. Terry McAul­iffe.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton appears at a rally in Old Town Alexandria, Va., with Virginia Gov. Terry McAul­iffe. Evan Vucci/AP

Hillary Clinton Celebrates Her Political Fortune

The Democratic front-runner appears with Gov. Terry McAuliffe, one of her closest political allies, at a Virginia rally.

Hil­lary Clin­ton stepped out onto the stage in Old Town Al­ex­an­dria on a gor­geous fall day with her old friend, Vir­gin­ia Gov. Terry McAul­iffe, and worked the rope line, shak­ing hands with sup­port­ers and smil­ing.

“Let me ask you, Vir­gini­ans: do we love Hil­lary Clin­ton?” McAul­iffe bel­lowed, to cheers from the crowd.

Wel­come to Clin­ton’s vic­tory lap.

Fri­day’s rally was a fit­ting way to wrap up what’s been the best 10 days of Clin­ton’s six-month-old pres­id­en­tial cam­paign. Between good re­views for her de­bate per­form­ance in Las Ve­gas last week, Vice Pres­id­ent Joe Biden’s Rose Garden an­nounce­ment that he’s not plan­ning to seek the pres­id­ency, and an 11-hour Benghazi testi­mony that sup­port­ers and crit­ics both agreed went well for her, Clin­ton’s po­s­i­tion as the clear Demo­crat­ic front-run­ner has so­lid­i­fied in the last week and a half.

The good news didn’t stop there. Just a few minutes be­fore she walked on stage in Al­ex­an­dria, she got the back­ing of AF­SCME, the 1.6-mil­lion-mem­ber pub­lic-em­ploy­ee uni­on. And, ac­cord­ing to cam­paign aides, Clin­ton had her best fun­drais­ing hour of the cam­paign Thursday night dur­ing the end of her testi­mony, from 9 to 10 p.m. Clin­ton an­nounced dur­ing her speech that, as of Fri­day, more than 500,000 people had donated to her cam­paign—in­clud­ing 100,000 in Oc­to­ber alone.

McAul­iffe nod­ded to the good head­lines for Clin­ton in his open­ing speech. “How about those 11 hours of testi­mony yes­ter­day? That’s what I’m talk­ing about!” McAul­iffe said, to cheers from the crowd. “… And how about those de­bates last week? Folks, she’s got it all.”

In Al­ex­an­dria, Clin­ton de­livered her stand­ard stump speech, but her good spir­its were evid­ent as she lingered be­fore and after the speech to shake hands and meet voters.

“You know, a lot of things have been said about me, but quit­ter is not one of them,” she said to the crowd.

The former sec­ret­ary of State was in equally good spir­its first thing Fri­day morn­ing when she spoke at the Demo­crat­ic Na­tion­al Com­mit­tee’s Wo­men’s Lead­er­ship For­um in Wash­ing­ton. She joked about hav­ing a “pretty long day” the day be­fore, say­ing she was glad she “fi­nally got to an­swer ques­tions.”

For Clin­ton’s aides, the re­cent spate of good news gives them con­fid­ence that she will be able to deal with the next round of rough head­lines.

“Come what may in terms of head­winds over the course of the cam­paign, when she has an op­por­tun­ity to ap­pear on a na­tion­al stage and speak to voters, we see them re­spond to that in a pos­it­ive way,” Clin­ton spokes­man Bri­an Fal­lon told re­port­ers be­fore the event. “That’s a con­stant in terms of her at­trib­utes as a can­did­ate that we think will po­s­i­tion her to weath­er whatever head­winds come, be­cause we know they’ll come back.”

Her stop across the Po­tom­ac River in Vir­gin­ia was im­port­ant for an­oth­er reas­on, too: it un­der­scored the cam­paign’s new fo­cus on build­ing up its or­gan­iz­ing ef­forts bey­ond the first four early states.

For the first few months of the cam­paign, Clin­ton’s team vir­tu­ally re­fused to dis­cuss what it was do­ing out­side of the tra­di­tion­al early-vot­ing states of Iowa, New Hamp­shire, South Car­o­lina, and Nevada. They were an­ti­cip­at­ing a com­pet­it­ive Demo­crat­ic primary, they said, and wer­en’t tak­ing any­thing for gran­ted in the more tra­di­tion­al Demo­crat­ic primary battle­grounds.

But now, Clin­ton’s team is stress­ing its fo­cus on ex­pand­ing in­to the slate of states that hold primar­ies in March.  In the spring, Clin­ton’s cam­paign dis­patched paid staffers to all 50 states to help kick­start their vo­lun­teer and or­gan­iz­ing op­er­a­tions there. Those staff were only in place through the end of May, hired on a tem­por­ary basis, but the cam­paign now has single paid staffers in Col­or­ado and Min­nesota again and will be put­ting aides on the ground in oth­er key March primary states.

And in oth­er March primary states—in­clud­ing Vir­gin­ia—the cam­paign has rolled out “lead­er­ship coun­cils” of loc­al and statewide elec­ted of­fi­cials. Apart from Vir­gin­ia, those coun­cils are in place in Maine, Geor­gia, Min­nesota, Col­or­ado, Ten­ness­ee, and Texas.

Vir­gin­ia, in par­tic­u­lar, is a fo­cus for the cam­paign, giv­en that con­trol of the state Sen­ate is hanging in the bal­ance next month. “You do have a big elec­tion com­ing up in two weeks,” Clin­ton said. “It will de­term­ine how much more Terry [McAul­iffe] can get done.”