Former Vice President Joe Biden is making preparations to enter the Democratic presidential campaign with a possible announcement as soon as next Wednesday, according to three people familiar with his plans.
One of the people cautioned that the plans could change, given the former Delaware senator’s fits and starts around previous presidential campaigns. Biden, 76, is tentatively aiming to get into the race with the release of a video announcing his candidacy, according to the people, who asked for anonymity to discuss private conversations.
Biden’s spokesman, Bill Russo, declined to comment on the plan, which was first reported by the Atlantic.
People around Biden have said for months that while he’s been all but certain to run, they would be reluctant to say so with complete confidence until he actually makes the announcement. He’s spent the first quarter of the year weighing his final decision on his third White House bid as 18 other would-be Democratic nominees have already begun campaigning and raising money.
He would enter the race as the front-runner with only Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders threatening that status. His long deliberation and the uncertainty about whether he would run has kept many major Democratic fundraisers and donors on the sideline.
Biden would offer a counterpoint in the race to Sanders, who’s running on a populist progressive platform and has a solid core of left-leaning activists behind him. Biden long has pitched himself as champion of the working class — he was spotted filming a video at his childhood home in Scranton, Pennsylvania, this month — and his allies believe he can win back some of the white Rust Belt voters who migrated to President Donald Trump in the 2016 election.
Though his two previous tries for the Democratic nomination in 1988 and 2008 ended quickly, Biden will be able to draw on the good will generated by serving as vice president to Barack Obama, who remains very popular among Democrats.
But he also would have plenty of liabilities, including his age — four years older than Trump — and a sense from some that he’s out of touch with the Democratic electorate, especially younger voters. After a career as a six-term senator from Delaware, Biden has compiled a record of stances that are unpopular with many of the party’s core voters.
He’s also had to confront complaints from women who came forward last month saying they were uncomfortable with the way Biden touched them at public events. None of the women described the encounters as assault or harassment. Biden released a video earlier this month in which he said he understood that social norms have changed and that he needs to be more respectful of the personal space of others. But he offered no apologies.
(Updates with background beginning in fourth paragraph.)