The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Joe Biden has told close friends he intends to run for president. He is apparently concerned about not matching the big donations other declared candidates like Beto O’Rourke and Bernie Sanders have managed in the first hours of their campaigns:
Former Vice President Joe Biden reached out to at least a half-dozen supporters Tuesday to tell them he intends to run for president and to ask for their help in lining up contributions from major donors so he can quickly raise several million dollars, a person familiar with the matter said.
Mr. Biden has expressed concern to these people that he wouldn’t be able to raise millions of dollars in online donations immediately the way some other Democratic candidates have, including former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, this person said. Mr. O’Rourke raised $6.1 million in the 24 hours after he launched his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, while Mr. Sanders collected $5.9 million in the same period.
Mr. Biden wants to announce a large fundraising number after his candidacy is official to better compete in what is often dubbed the “money primary” that kicks off a presidential season.
Time will tell if Biden was right to be worried but my guess is that he’s not giving himself nearly enough credit. Recent polls have shown him at the top of the field of potential Democratic candidates. The most recent CNN poll has him on top with 28% compared to 20% for Sanders. He had a similar number (29%) in another poll last month.
I actually think Biden’s problem is the opposite of what he thinks it is. I’m not convinced he’s going to look like the top dog in a few months once the candidates are talking more and interacting with one another more. Frankly, he’s a gaffe-machine with a long track record that can be exploited by his opponents. I think the bloom could be off the rose in 6-7 months. But out of the gate? I think he can probably pull a big number next week or whenever he announces.
Biden is said to be looking for a place to locate his campaign headquarters with Philadelphia currently the leading contender. There’s no exact timeline of when he’ll take the next step but it seems the plan is to enter the race after March 31 so he avoids having to report his fundraising to the FEC for the quarter.