Ron Klain: ‘It’s not even going to be that close’

Florida haunts Ron Klain’s dreams.

Seventeen years ago, Klain led the recount effort on behalf of then-Vice President Al GoreAlbert (Al) Arnold GoreCNN coronavirus town hall to feature science author David Quammen, ‘Empire’ actress Taraji Henson Top Democratic pollster advised Biden campaign to pick Warren as VP Melania Trump to appear on CNN coronavirus town hall Thursday night MORE, whose legal challenge to the nail-bitingly close Florida results ended up in a 5-4 decision before the Supreme Court.

In 2016, Klain heard from friends in Florida that the state might once again cost Democrats the White House.

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Standing on the floor of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, amid cheering Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida MORE supporters, Klain called allies in Florida who knew which precincts to watch as the results came in. 

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“We’re not going to win here, and it’s not even going to be that close,” Klain’s friends told him.

Klain had been cautiously optimistic going into Election Day. He had no formal role with the campaign, but he would almost certainly be tapped for a high-level job in the Clinton administration — some pegged him as a future chief of staff.

But the Florida numbers told him otherwise.

“That was really the first time it dawned on me that this could be a very surprising and unhappy night,” he said. 

Klain left the convention center about 2:30 a.m., and headed back to his hotel. He had planned to stay in New York the next day, to see friends and celebrate. 

Instead, he and his wife slept in, then boarded the train back to Washington.

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