Ghost Campaign: Biden Hosting Big-Donor Fundraisers Without Announcing 2024 Candidacy Yet
© AP Photo / Charles KrupaIn this June 23, 2020, file photo, a car passes a yard displaying a campaign sign for Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden in North Hampton, New Hampshire. The coronavirus pandemic isn't going away anytime soon, but campaigns are still forging ahead with in-person organizing. The pandemic upended elections this year, forcing campaigns to shift their organizing activities almost entirely online and compelling both parties to reconfigure their conventions.
© AP Photo / Charles Krupa
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is hosting several big-donor fundraisers in the coming weeks to raise money for 2024 campaigns, with US President Joe Biden as their star guest. However, the 80-year-old leader has yet to announce his own bid to stay in office.
Reports in US media on Thursday indicated the DNC would hold fundraisers for wealthy donors in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and New York City in the coming weeks to coincide with visits by Biden to those cities. Vice President Kamala Harris is also expected to attend DNC fundraisers in the same cities.
One source was quoted in US media as saying these are “indeed the typical actions of a president preparing to run for reelection.”
"We have been told to expect fundraising to ramp up in the March and April time frame," a donor who backed Biden in the 2020 election was quoted as saying.
The DNC aims to raise at least $500 million for Biden, who became the first candidate in US history to raise $1 billion during his ultimately-successful presidential campaign in 2020. That number included $580 million raised for Biden by outside groups. In addition, Democrats are likely to face tough challenges in a number of congressional districts, thanks to a mix of redrawn districts and Biden’s low approval rating.
In the 2022 midterms last November, Democrats lost nine key seats in the House, resulting in a narrow Republican majority. However, Democrats marked this as a victory, seeing as a “red wave” of GOP victories had been anticipated by both sides. Democrats also gained a Senate seat - before Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema announced her departure from the party and registration as an Independent in December.
For the 2024 race, so far only former US President Donald Trump has formally announced his candidacy, doing so at a time so close to the midterms that Republicans argued it would hurt their party. In many ways, Trump never stopped campaigning after his 2020 election loss to Biden, incorporating into his rallies his claims that Biden had stolen the election from him.
However, Biden has repeatedly hinted at a 2024 run, which would make him the oldest sitting president to seek reelection. According to some reports, he may do so after the State of the Union Address on February 7.
Other figures widely expected to declare their candidacies include former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis - both Republicans. Conservative US media has indicated its clear preference for DeSantis over Trump, and opinion polls of US voters reflect a similar attitude.
One poll held by WPA Intelligence in early January found that if the election were tomorrow, Biden would handedly defeat Trump, but if Biden ran against DeSantis, he would lose.