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Biden set for summit with top fundraisers ahead of expected re-election campaign -sources

2023-04-19T23:43:19Z

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on economy at the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 77 in Accokeek, Maryland, U.S., April 19, 2023. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to meet top potential donors for his planned re-election campaign next week, according to two people with direct knowledge of the plans.

The effort to organize prospective financial backers comes as Biden aides have ramped up planning for the long-expected launch of the president’s bid for a second, four-year term in 2024. Last week, Biden said he would launch his campaign “relatively soon.”

Biden, 80, could announce his plans in the coming days, according to people familiar with his thinking, but they acknowledged that it is possible the announcement could take far longer.

Biden entered the 2020 race nearly four years ago, on April 25, 2019. He has long said he intends to run again but the lack of a formal announcement has seeded doubt among supporters about whether one of the oldest world leaders would or should commit to another four-year term. He would be 86 at the end of a second term.

The White House declined to comment on the meeting and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Donors would be key to what might be the most expensive U.S. presidential election to date. While the campaign would employ paid staff who focus on fundraising, they rely on volunteers to significant work.

Top volunteers generally give money to the campaign themselves but are also expected to tap their own networks of wealthy potential donors, host events that can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars to attend and even meet certain fundraising targets set by the campaign.

The fundraising volunteers are expected to take a role in the early days after the launch, too, generating cash and holding events that they hope will give Biden a multi-million dollar haul within days and a strong vote of confidence ahead of the long campaign.

In recent weeks, Biden has laid out the likely themes of a re-election bid in political speeches, secured a doctor’s note that he is “fit for duty,” told Democrats to re-order the party’s primary calendar in a manner favoring his nomination and picked Chicago as the city where he would ostensibly formally become the nominee next year. Biden is yet to face a serious challenge for his party’s nomination.

Biden on Wednesday visited a labor union training facility in Maryland to attack Republicans’ economic vision, just one of the latest political events that have given the president a platform to rehearse likely campaign themes.

“Trickle-down economics doesn’t work,” Biden said, adding that a “minority of the party – I call them MAGA Republicans – control the party and are in Congress threatening to undo all the stuff that you’ve helped me get done.”

He has avoided speaking about the legal woes facing Donald Trump, but on Wednesday he mentioned in passing the former president and top Republican candidate’s name.

Biden drew laughter and applause when he referred to Trump’s “last term – only term.”

He added: “Well, I didn’t mean it that way.”