Biden Falls Behind Recent Democratic Presidents in Announcing Re-Election Campaign
US President Joe Biden is running again, he and White House officials insist, he is just not ready to announce it yet. Biden will be 81 on 20 November and if he is elected, he would be the oldest US president to assume office.
The expected date for Biden to make his 2024 presidential plans official slipped after the State of the Union address in February to months later as the apparent advantages of racing into campaign season seemed limited, according to Biden aides and allies.
But some of those allies now see the possibility that the announcement could emerge sooner rather than later as he approaches the four-year anniversary of entering the 2020 race on 25 April 2019.
Biden trails recent Democratic incumbent presidents on the issue: Barack Obama announced he would run for a second term in 2012 on 4 April 2011, and Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election announcement was 14 April 1995. Jimmy Carter, however, waited until 4 December 1979, to announce his 1980 re-election run, which he lost.
Republican Donald Trump, said on 18 June 2019, that he would run for a second term in 2020, while George W. Bush made his 2004 plans public on 16 May 2003. Trump is currently 76.
The lack of a formal announcement has given jitters to supporters unsure if the Democrat president, one of the oldest world leaders, would or should commit to another four-year term. He would be 86 at the end of a prospective second term.
Several factors have been in play, allies said, including picking a campaign team and locking down fundraising plans for financing what may be the most expensive campaign in history.
Asked if he has heard when Biden will announce his re-election campaign, Biden’s former chief of staff Ron Klain told Reuters on Monday: “I have, and I’m going to keep that private.”
In recent weeks, Biden has laid out the likely themes of a re-election bid in political speeches, secured a doctor’s note that he is “fit for duty,” told Democrats to re-order the party’s primary calendar in a manner favoring his nomination and picked Chicago as the city where he would ostensibly formally become the nominee next year. Biden is yet to face a serious challenge for his party’s nomination.
“We’ll announce it relatively soon. But the trip here just reinforced my sense of optimism about what can be done,” Biden told reporters at the tail-end of an emotional trip to Ireland last week. “I told you my plan is to run again.”
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) declined to comment.
Focused on bridges, not Trump
Biden started the month by kicking off a multi-week, nearly 30-state “Investing in America” tour where the president and top administration officials highlighted infrastructure, chips and inflation act money that is starting to flow into states.
It is part of a broader push to send Biden administration officials from coast-to-coast talking about the over $1 trillion in federal money Biden and Democrats put through Congress to fund roads, bridges and high-tech jobs.
This week, Biden plans remarks on childcare and environmental justice, along with a visit to a labor union training facility in Maryland to talk about the economy.
While not technically campaign events, they offer a platform for the president to promote likely campaign themes on the need to lower childcare costs, seek racial justice and build an economy that benefits the working class.
Once Biden is officially running for president, his campaign will be asked daily for responses on hot-button issues as well as the latest salvos and observations from Trump, the top Republican candidate, and his list of legal woes. Until then, the White House seems ready to stick with a policy of near-silence on Trump.
Campaign staff, fundraising
Biden has still not decided who will run his campaign, and as of last month was considering at least three people to serve as his campaign manager.
For senior roles in the campaign, Biden is considering Julie Chavez Rodriguez, the director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and a deputy campaign manager of Biden’s 2020 campaign; Jenn Ridder, who served as national states director for Biden’s 2020 campaign; and Sam Cornale, the DNC’s executive director, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Other names being discussed include White House digital strategist Rob Flaherty, 2012 Obama campaign veteran Mitch Stewart, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s 2022 campaign manager Preston Elliot and Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock’s 2022 manager Quentin Fulks, one of the people familiar with the discussions said.
That person also cited senior Democratic strategists who ran two senators’ rival primary presidential campaigns against Biden are also under consideration – Elizabeth Warren’s campaign manager Roger Lau and Addisu Demissie, who ran Cory Booker’s team.
Donors who financed his last campaign are standing by, planning a series of events featuring Biden that will take place right around the time he announces, raising millions of dollars to give his campaign a strong start, according to two people directly involved with the plans.
A formal announcement and filing with the Federal Election Commission would officially open the doors to donations to Biden’s campaign committee, but also put new ethics and spending scrutiny on his activities as president. Presidents need to reimburse the US government for travel and other expenses related to their campaign.
(Edited by Georgi Gotev)