Former Vice President Joe Biden reportedly plans to throw his hat in the ring and run for president in 2020.
“I’m giving it a shot,” Biden said during a phone call with a House Democratic lawmaker within the past week, according to The Hill, which reported what the congressman recounted on a condition of anonymity.
“In the brief phone call, the former vice president asked if he could bounce some campaign strategy ideas off the lawmaker and invited the lawmaker to sit down with him in person in the near future. Biden also said he hoped to have the lawmaker’s support, something the lawmaker did not commit to,” The Hill reported.
Biden, 76, did not share when or where he planned to make a formal announcement of his candidacy.
The Hill reached out to the former vice president’s spokesman, Bill Russo, who disputed that Biden has definitively made up his mind whether to enter the race: “He has not made a final decision. No change.”
Biden teased a 2020 bid on Tuesday as he took the stage to speak to the International Association of Fire Fighters conference in Washington, D.C., to chants of “Run, Joe, run!”
“I appreciate the energy you all showed when I got up here,” he said. “Save it a little longer, I may need it in a few weeks. … Be careful what you wish for.”
— The Hill (@thehill) March 12, 2019
Democratic Sen. Bob Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania, a longtime friend of Biden’s, told The Hill that the former VP wasn’t “declaratory” about his intentions during a phone conversation they had last week, but said it would be “very surprising” if Biden did not run.
The RealClearPolitics average of polls shows Biden in the lead among the possible and declared Democratic contenders for their party’s presidential nomination, with 29 percent support, followed by Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont at 22 percent, Kamala Harris of California at 11 percent and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts at 7 percent.
However, a Morning Consult poll released earlier this week found the race between Biden and Sanders at a tighter 31 to 27 percent.
The 77-year-old Sanders, who held his first campaign rally last week, appears to have the strongest momentum among the contenders.
An Emerson College poll taken last month before he entered the race had him trailing Biden 27 to 17 percent.
The Vermont senator appears to be showing a post-announcement bounce, which Biden also likely will see should he enter the race. The former Delaware senator almost certainly will chart a more centrist course than Sanders, who is a self-described democratic socialist.
Biden unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination in 1988 and 2008.
A straw poll of Conservative Political Action Conference attendees earlier this month found Biden to be the “biggest threat” to Trump’s re-election prospects, The Washington Times reported.
Nearly 40 percent of attendees named him, while Sanders and Harris trailed far behind, each garnering approximately 12 percent.
Trump, however, doesn’t seem worried about possibly facing Biden. The president has called the former vice president “One Percent Joe,” a reference to Biden’s poor showing in the 2008 Iowa caucuses, when he placed fifth with 0.9 percent of the vote.