While Hillary Clinton has long been considered the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, people close to Vice President Joe Biden say he is seriously weighing a bid for the White House, which could upset Clinton’s numbers. Biden will likely make a decision in September if he does decide to run.
“He has said he would announce his decision at the end of the summer,” Ted Kaufman, a longtime Biden aide who briefly filled his Senate seat when he was elected vice president, recently told The Huffington Post.
But Biden’s spokesperson, Kendra A. Barkoff, immediately dismissed the claim, saying, “The Biden family is going through a difficult time right now. Any speculation about the views of the vice president or his family about his political future is premature and inappropriate.” Biden’s son, Beau, who encouraged him to run for president, died in May after a long battle with brain cancer.
Draft Biden 2016, a super PAC, also wants him to run and has been quietly laying the groundwork for a potential campaign in early voting states. On Monday, the site announced that supporters had collected 150,000 signatures to back the effort.
The group’s site also touts the results of a Monmouth University Poll (pdf) released last week, showing that Biden could siphon off some of Clinton’s support if he decides to throw his hat in the ring.
“Our main goal is persuade the vice president to run for president,” William Pierce, executive director of Draft Biden, told NewsOne Monday. “We’re really encouraged by the Monmouth poll numbers.”
Monmouth poll results show Biden enjoying 13 percent support among Democratic voters, which is similar to past results. But his support could grow if he enters the race. The poll results show that an additional 12 percent of Democratic voters say they would be very likely to support Biden if he jumps into the race and another 31 percent say they would be somewhat likely to do so, meaning 1-in-4 voters would very likely support Biden, and more than half would be at least somewhat likely to support him, the results show.
“[T]he bigger threat to Clinton may come from a Biden candidacy, where the two would be fighting for the same voters,” Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, New Jersey, said in the release.
Here are the poll numbers: Hillary Clinton currently enjoys 51 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters nationwide, which is down from 57 percent in June and 60 percent in April, Monmouth states. Bernie Sanders rates second at 17 percent, but his support has steadily grown from 12 percent in June and 7 percent in April. Martin O’Malley earns just 1 percent support and Jim Webb, who threw his hat into the ring earlier this month, also garners just 1 percent. Lincoln Chafee registers no support in the poll. Another 15 percent are undecided.
If Biden decides to run for president, he may have an easier time overcoming criticism for supporting former President Bill Clinton‘s tough-on-crime policies that have resulted in many thousands — if not millions (PDF) — of African-Americans being locked up behind bars under stiff sentences over the last two decades. As a member of the Obama administration, Biden could be seen as helping to reform the criminal justice system, making up for his support of the measure as a senator back in 1994.
Indeed, President Clinton has apologized for the morass as his wife Hillary Clinton, former U.S. Secretary of State, campaigns for president, absolving her of blame for his mistake before campaign season heats up.
What do you think, should Biden run and would you vote for him? Sound off in the comments.
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