Ruline Steininger, Clinton supporter, dies at 103
(CNN) — On a cold February night last year, 102-year-old Ruline Steininger caucused for Hillary Clinton in Iowa, determined to witness history and help elect the country’s first female president.
“I’ve got a big job ahead of me … I’ve got to live,” she said at the time. “After that, OK, I can die if I want to, but I’m going to live until she’s elected.”
Steininger died Tuesday night, three months after her dream was dashed. She was 103. Her daughter-in-law, Karen Steininger, confirmed Ruline’s death to CNN on Thursday.
“She had a long and productive life and did much to inspire many women, young and old,” she said in an email. “One of my favorite things that she said, as my husband was telling her about the Women’s March here in Des Moines, was to please send Hillary a note after her death and to let her know that she’ll still be fighting. An activist even after she’s gone.”
Clinton tweeted her condolences Friday evening.
“At 103, Ruline Steininger had an energy & vibrancy all should aspire to. My thoughts & prayers are w/ her family,” Clinton said.
Steininger was born in 1913, before the first World War, when women could not vote. During the 2016 campaign, CNN documented Steininger’s efforts to help elect Clinton — the country’s first woman to capture a major political party’s nomination for president.
On September 29, Steininger became one of the first people in Iowa to vote in person for Clinton for president. She met the candidate backstage at a campaign rally.
“I’m going to help all the way. I’m voting today,” an excited Steininger told Clinton then. Steininger had come to the event prepared with a handmade “Hillary” sign attached to the front of her walker.
“I’m not taking any chance and leaving it ’til the election. When you’re 103, you make every minute count.”
“And you have made every minute of all those years count,” Clinton responded.
On Election Night, as Steininger watched the returns come in with her family, she expressed disappointment when she started to realize that Donald Trump would defeat Clinton.
“We made a lot of progress and it looked like we were going to make a lot more, and now we’re not,” Steininger told CNN. “And that’s going to make a big difference in our country.”
“It won’t bother me, I’m going to die,” she added. “But I’ve got children and grandchildren that are going to be affected by President Trump.”