July 22 (UPI) — Former Vice President Joe Biden deflected a question about whether he will run for president in 2020, saying instead his focus is on helping elect a Democratic Congress next year.
Biden publicly weighed a difficult decision about whether to enter the Democratic primary dominated by Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders in the immediate aftermath of the death of his son, Beau Biden, from brain cancer in 2015.
Biden ultimately opted not to run, citing the strain it would put on his grieving family.
Biden appeared ay OZY Fest in New York, a mashup of policy-related symposiums and musical acts. His wife, Jill Biden, a medical doctor, was one of several participants in a symposium on healthcare moderated by the journalist Katie Couric. With Biden looking on in the audience, Couric invited him to speak and asked whether he intended to run for president.
“My focus now, our focus now, is to get a Democratic Congress elected in 2018,” Biden said to cheers. “There’s a lot of talent in the Democratic Party. My hope and expectation is that some of the younger folks are going to come up and fill the void.”
Biden is 74 and would be 77 in 2020. If he were to capture the Democratic nomination it would make him by far the oldest candidate to do so when seeking a first term. President Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, at 70 and 69 respectively, are presently the oldest candidates nominated by either party in 2016.
Earlier this year, Biden created a super PAC to help raise money for political causes and candidates he supports. While it is a standard practice for would-be presidential candidates, retired politicians also often form fundraising groups to help burnish the legacies, support friends and pay for their post-government travel expenses.
Biden was last asked publicly in May about whether he plans to run in 2020. His response to a group of hedge fund managers at a conference in Las Vegas.
“Could I? Yes. Would I? Probably not,” he said at the time.