Apr 3, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Biden holds back '24 launch

President Biden leaves a Palm Sunday service at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington, Del., yesterday.

President Biden leaves a Palm Sunday service at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington, Del., on Sunday. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden's advisers and close allies don't expect him to announce a run for re-election any time soon — and some now believe it could come as late as July, or perhaps even the fall.

Why it matters: Biden's waiting game has left many ambitious Democrats and would-be staffers with their 2024 plans on hold. They initially thought Biden would launch a campaign soon after the Christmas break, after talking with his family.

Zoom in: There's no indication Biden has changed his mind about running for re-election.

  • But if he ultimately chooses to bow out, the late decision could provide an advantage to Vice President Kamala Harris if she wanted to run for president — and it could foreclose options for other Democrats.
  • Biden's campaign-in-waiting is still in the earliest stages, with decisions still needed on top positions such as campaign manager and finance chairman.

What we're hearing: Biden and his inner circle don't see drawbacks to the president taking his time — he doesn't have a significant primary challenge, so for a while he can stay above the campaign fray and focus on governing.

  • Biden advisers also believe that waiting has a potential upside: It allows him to contrast his leadership from the Oval Office with the chaos in the Republican Party, and the drama surrounding former President Trump's indictment.
  • "No Republican candidate or potential candidate will affect our timing," a Biden adviser told Axios.
  • Biden has a trip to Ireland coming in mid-April, and must deal with the debt-ceiling and budget standoff with House Republicans early this summer.

Between the lines: The announcement timeline also could be affected by his advisers' desire for strong initial fundraising numbers, to avoid news reports about a lack of enthusiasm or vulnerability.

  • Presidential candidates are required to disclose their totals after each quarter. The first fundraising quarter for 2023 has passed, and the second fundraising quarter runs April 1 to June 30.

If Biden waits until May, some advisers might want to push the announcement until the third quarter, which begins in July.

  • But fundraising can be difficult in July and August, so some advisers and allies think Biden's re-election announcement could be delayed to the fall — although most don't believe Biden will wait that long.

Flashback: Biden has a history of delaying presidential campaign announcements. In 2019, he took months to make a final decision. Even after he chose to run, the announcement date was pushed back multiple times, according to Biden advisers familiar with the matter.

The bottom line: There's no mechanism pushing Biden to announce his re-election campaign soon. And there's no sign he will.

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