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Clinton ramps up Illinois operation, will be in Chicago Feb. 17

WASHINGTON – Hillary Clinton, bracing for a defeat in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, is plowing ahead, landing in Chicago on Feb. 17 for three fundraisers and a campaign event, coming as she is ramping up her Illinois operation in advance of the March 15 vote here.

These are the latest details on Clinton campaign Illinois-related developments:

1. Early voting started in Illinois on Feb. 4 and Clinton’s team is looking to lock in those early votes.

“Most eligible voters cast their ballots on election day, but for some, it’s just not that easy. For the senior citizen who relies on a caretaker to drive them, for the working mother who can’t afford childcare, and for the college student who travels home to vote, early voting ensures that everyone has a chance to participate in our democracy. Starting last week people in Illinois have the chance to vote early to build the future that every hard-working American deserves. We need to elect a President who can do all parts of the job and who can keep Republicans from ripping away the progress we’ve achieved. I hope Illinoisans take the chance to get out and vote early in this election, because the stakes couldn’t be higher,” Clinton said in a statement.

2. Clinton, who planted a fund-raising staffer in Chicago when she launched her bid last year, is expanding staff in her native state and opening campaign offices in Chicago.

3. Clinton will do a campaign event in Chicago, where she was born in Edgewater Hospital as well as three funders.Chelsea Clinton keynoted three fundraisers for her mother when she was in Chicago on Jan. 15.

The Feb. 17 Clinton funders are:

*At 12:30 p.m. At the Chicago home of Sabrina and Antonio Gracias. Antonio Gracias is the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer of Valor Equity Partners, the private equity firm he founded in 2001 He is also a friend of J.B. Pritzker, one of Clinton’s chief fund-raisers. The cost for this event is, $2,700 which includes a photo with Hillary.

*At 4:30 p.m. a funder hosted by attorney Joe Power billed as a “Conversation with Hillary,” with a $27,000 raise needed to host; $10,800 raise for co-hosts.Contribute or raise $5,400 per couple in primary dollars includes a photo with Clinton. At the $27,000 tier, also get a reception with Clinton and membership on her finance committee.

*In the evening, at Venue One, 1034 W. Randolph, a funder hosted by Brandy Isaac, Barbara Goodman Manilow, Dania Leemputte, Amalia Mahoney, Joan Sears, Amy Singh, and Julie Smolyansky

Co-Hosted by Chanel Coney, Katrina Markoff, Fawzia Mirza and Nabeela Rasheed, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, and Jason Scher

Background: A host, Amalia Mahoney, was the Director of Galeria Amalia Mahoney art gallery in Chicago, is a major Democratic donor. President Barack Obama thanked her by appointing her in September, 2013 to be a trustee at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. A co-host, Katrina Markoff, is the chocolatier who founded Vosges. Markoff is a co-host along with her husband, Jason Scher.

The tab: Hosts at the Venue event are supposed to raise at least $27,000.