While appearing supportive in public, Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has reportedly taken measures to discourage Vice President Joe Biden from entering the 2016 presidential race.
"We are building something that will last long after next November," Clinton said during a speech for the Democratic National Committee summer meetings. "Other candidates may be fighting for a particular ideology, but I'm fighting for you and your families."
Over the past few weeks, Clinton's team has aggressively pursued endorsements from key figures in early-voting states, and launched massive fundraisers in a deliberate effort to undercut Biden's chances before he even officially declares an intention to run.
Some democratic strategists and fundraisers, speaking to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity, revealed that sponsors, previously committed to Biden, have been contacted by Clinton's team and encouraged to reconsider their preferences.
"We are working really hard to lock in as many supporters as possible," Clinton told reporters on Friday. "This is really about how you put the numbers together to secure the nomination."
In addition, Clinton has made major inroads into South Carolina, a state where Biden has a number of political and personal ties. She has already convinced two former South Carolina governors to support her candidacy.
The Democratic infighting has left many donors in an awkward situation.
Biden backers, on the other hand, claim they're also prepared to build a strong base of supporters for the vice president, should he decide to run. They claim they've already talked to a number of Clinton supporters who are prepared to change their allegiances.
"They don't want to put their neck out unless they know Biden is in this," said Jon Cooper, finance chairman of the Draft Biden super PAC and a top Obama fundraiser. "But I have no doubt he'll be able to put together a national fundraising infrastructure in place overnight."
He estimated the PAC would raise as much as $3 million over the next few weeks.
On Tuesday, the vice president received President Obama's "blessing" to enter the 2016 presidential race, if he chooses to do so. While a decision has not yet been made, sources have indicated that Biden is very interested in running.
A Biden candidacy could send Clinton's plans into a tailspin, especially as her favorability continues to fall amidst the current email scandal.