Former Vice President Joe Biden is vacationing on a tropical island, but sources say he is using the downtime to do his final calculations before deciding on joining the Democrat presidential race, including whether he can muster the money needed to rise to the party’s nomination.
Biden and his family are on St. Croix island, but the subject around the kitchen table will be focused on 2020, the Associated Press (AP) reported:
Those close to the former vice president believe he would start off at a fundraising disadvantage compared to would-be rivals, whose campaigns have benefited from an early flood of small-dollar donations from the most liberal wing of the party. Biden, a 76-year-old lifetime politician with strong connections to the party’s establishment, would be forced to rely on an “old-school grind-it-out” plan to generate campaign cash from wealthy individual donors, according to a person with direct knowledge of Biden’s thinking.
Questions about money are among the nagging issues Biden is still considering as he weighs launching a campaign.
Biden has long disliked the time-intensive process of political fundraising. But with virtually no campaign operation in key states, he’d need to generate millions of dollars in a matter of weeks should he enter what is expected to be the most expensive presidential campaign in U.S. history.
“He obviously has a lot of friends among the Democratic donor community,” David Axelrod, one of former President Barack Obama’s advisers said in the AP story. “But fundraising today is turbo-charged by social media. He’s not of the social media generation.”
Biden, who has been at the top of the presidential hopefuls polls, is still seen as a heavyweight in the Democrat Party, and his decision will play a significant role in the 2020 race going forward. This has created a sense of urgency for Biden to announce his intentions, with some speculation that he will not do so until April.
This is also frustrating potential supporters and staff, including those in South Carolina, which holds the first primary in the South.
“Several have said it’s concerning that he can’t seem to make up his mind,” Brady Quirk-Garvan, chairman of the Charleston County Democratic Party, told AP. “If you’re going to run for president, most people want someone who’s pretty damn sure they want to be president.”
The AP reported that, on the fundraising front, Biden does not have an impressive record.
“But at least one Obama donor, Don Peebles, a two-time member of the former president’s national finance team, expressed confidence in Biden’s fundraising ability,” AP reported.
“I think he’d raise more money than several of the top candidates combined,” Peebles said, vowing to support Biden if he runs. “He’s the best chance that the Democrats have to win in November.”
If Biden does enter the 2020 race, he will join an already crowded field that includes Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
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