Barring an unforeseen event, President Biden intends to run for reelection in 2024 and he has been laying the groundwork for the campaign at the White House residence since September, according to a report.
First lady Jill Biden and a “very small group” of advisers that include top White House aides Anita Dunn, Mike Donilon, and Jen O’Malley Dillon, veterans of Biden’s 2020 campaign, and White House chief of staff Ron Klain have been involved in the planning discussions, according to the Washington Post.
Biden’s inner circle aims to prepare for a reelection run even though the president could have a last-minute change of heart. The report notes that Biden, who turns 80 later this month, has indicated that he will be more eager to run if former President Donald Trump jumps into the fray.
However, some Democratic strategists are concerned that Biden delaying publicly announcing his decision until next year, as is expected, will be a serious disadvantage for Democrats.
“We are going to have two or three months with essentially one hand tied behind our back because even if we are running at full speed we still will not have a candidate,” a Democratic presidential strategist told the Washington Post.
“The public indecision of the president is going to dominate all the conversations inside the party,” the strategist continued. “And if Trump announces, the hysteria is only going to increase.”
The president’s 2024 brain trust has reportedly reached out to members of the past two Democratic presidential reelection campaigns, including former President Barack Obama’s campaign managers, David Plouffe and Jim Messina, and two former members of the Clinton administration, Bruce Reed and Steve Ricchetti, according to the Washington Post.
The Democratic National Committee has also been making plans to respond on Biden’s behalf to announcements from Trump or other candidates who could announce campaigns shortly after the midterm elections. The DNC has spent more than a year preparing for a Biden reelection campaign, expanding its data operations, investing in battleground states, and researching potential GOP rivals, according to the report.
The Democratic Party also reportedly has a budget in place to hire new spokespeople for Democrats in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, the early primary states where the GOP presidential candidates will duke it out.
While no prominent Democrats have expressed interest in challenging the commander-in-chief for the nomination, questions remain about the public’s appetite for another four years of Biden.
More than half of Democratic voters, 56%, think Biden should bow out and not seek re-election in 2024, saying they want a change in the party, a USA Today/Ipsos poll from August found.
A Washington Post-ABC News poll from September also found that 56% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents wanted the party to nominate someone other than Biden as its candidate in 2024.
Those numbers have improved since the summer when gas prices and inflation skyrocketed to record levels. A June CNN poll found that 75% of Democrats wanted someone other than Biden to run in 2024.
In August, Rep. Carolyn Maloney — who lost New York’s newly redrawn District 12 seat to Rep. Jerry Nadler — told the New York Times editorial board that Biden wouldn’t run again, believing she was off the record.
However, in October, Rev. Al Sharpton reportedly told employees of his National Action Network that after a meeting with the commander-in-chief, Biden informed him that he will run for reelection in 2024.
“I’m going to do it again,” Biden told Sharpton as they posed for a photograph in the White House’s Roosevelt Room, a National Action Network official recounted Sharpton saying.
When pressed by the media on his 2024 intentions, the president has been noncommittal.
Asked during a “60 Minutes” interview in September whether he has made a “firm decision” about seeking another four years in the White House, Biden said, “Look, my intention, as I said to begin with, is that I would run again. But it’s just an intention. But is it a firm decision that I run again? That remains to be seen.”
When asked again in October by MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart, Biden said, “I have not made that formal decision but it’s my intention . . . to run again and we’ll have time to make that decision.”
The president, who would be 86 years old at the end of a second term in the White House, then appeared to zone out when asked if his wife supports a 2024 run.
“Dr. Biden is for it?” Capehart asked, and he was met with a long, awkward silence as Biden appeared to glance toward the floor.
“Mr. President —,” Capehart eventually interjected.
“Dr. Biden thinks that — my wife thinks that I, uh — that we’re doing something very important,” Biden finally said.