Biden Is ‘Likely’ To Run – Boston Herald
Joe Biden is leaning strongly toward a 2016 presidential bid, a source close to the vice president tells the Herald – news that is spurring excitement among top Democrats in Massachusetts and early voting states who are worried about front-runner Hillary Clinton’s hefty political baggage and sagging poll numbers.
An adviser close to Biden, who is familiar with the vice president’s exploration process, told the Herald that Biden will “more likely than not” jump into the 2016 race. A request for comment from Biden’s White House office was not returned yesterday.
The news of Biden’s renewed campaign activity over the weekend energized Democrats eager for a robust primary contest as Clinton faces ongoing questions about her use of a private email server and an upcoming hearing of her handling of the 2012 Benghazi attack during her tenure as secretary of state.
“I’d love to see Biden run,” said Democratic strategist Scott Ferson. “He is authentic and people are looking for that. I think people want Hillary Clinton to be more authentic.”
Advisers to Biden have reportedly begun actively reaching out to potential supporters and donors, an effort that gained momentum after the death of Biden’s son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, in May. The younger Biden, as well as his brother, Hunter Biden, reportedly had urged their father to jump into the 2016 presidential race.
The conversations between Biden aides and potential supporters reportedly grew out of the condolences and expressions of support to Biden after Beau’s death from brain cancer.
Biden already is the beneficiary of a draft movement, and wouldn’t have to start his campaign from scratch.
“We have staff on the ground in Iowa and New Hampshire, and we are bringing more people on in South Carolina,” said Will Pierce of “Draft Biden 2016,” who said he expects Biden to decide by September.
The efforts are being met with support from those who say Biden could energize the Democratic primary, providing a formidable opponent to Clinton. In a recent Quinnipiac poll, 58 percent of voters – and a whopping 87 percent of Democrats – found Biden honest and trustworthy, compared to 37 percent and 76 percent,
respectively, for Clinton.
“What is happening with the emails and all the other issues around Hillary’s campaign has not been helpful to her,” said former Massachusetts Democratic Party chairman Phil Johnston. “If anyone is in the position to beat her for the nomination, I would say it’s Joe.”
Clinton is now seriously challenged only by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders – wildly popular on the left, with high polling numbers in early voting states, but seen as unelectable nationally. Other candidates, like former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, have failed so far to gain traction. More competition can only help the race, strategists said.
“I think a spirited primary would be good for our nominee, whoever it is,” said Iowa-based Democratic strategist Jeff Link.
But Biden would have several obstacles to overcome, from his close ties to the Obama administration that will draw Republican fire, to his late start that leaves him at a fundraising and visibility disadvantage.
“Every day you wait, it gets harder,” Link said.
But he also has deep roots and strong support in early primary states.
“The vice president will be very welcome in South Carolina,” said state Democratic Party chairman Jaime Harrison. “I still think Secretary Clinton is the frontrunner, but if Biden got in the race he’d be formidable in his own right.”