‘Time is Running Out’ for Joe Biden 2016 Candidacy, State Party Chairs Say – ABC News
What will Joe do?
It’s the question on Democrats’ minds as Democratic National Committee members gather in Minneapolis for their summer meeting. Vice President Biden won’t be speaking at the gathering, although the announced candidates — including Hillary Clinton — are all slated to address members.
Biden did speak with DNC members Wednesday, lobbying Democrats on the Iran deal on a conference call. It was a call on policy, but it also meant Biden was at the top of members’ minds right before the meeting kicked off.
When ABC News reached out to state party chairs across the country, most who plan to attend the meeting, 12 mostly agreed that while there is room for a Biden candidacy, he is running out of time.
Ray Buckley, party chair for the first-in-the-nation primary New Hampshire Democrats told ABC News “there may be room for Vice President Biden,” but cautioned “time is running out.”
“We in New Hampshire love an exciting primary,” he continued, but stressed if Biden does run, he can’t skip the early states, especially the Granite State.
“Skipping Iowa and New Hampshire has not served any candidate well in the decades past so that would be a curious decision to make,” Buckley said, referring to reports he may skip the first two voting states. “He has a deep reservoir of affection and if he chose to run he certainly would receive support from folks.
“That said (his) two previous campaigns haven’t been successful in New Hampshire, but he would be entering this race as a sitting vice president so whether or not there is room for him, that’s for him to decide, for his team to decide.”
Jamie Harrison, head of the South Carolina Democratic Party, said Biden has “some strong supporters here in the state, he spends his vacations here…he has really strong relationships here, people with clout,” adding if he gets in he will be “able to compete” in the state.
Harrison, who won’t be attending the meeting in Minneapolis, said “the Clinton campaign is very strong” in the state, calling them “top rate.”
“I think it’s going to be a contest, I don’t think the Clinton people are taking anything for granted,” he said. “They learned a lesson from 2007, 2008 and they will make sure every vote is counted and you make sure to court every vote and that’s what it seems like they are doing.”
Harrison, like Buckley, said he doesn’t think a Biden entry to the race would hurt the party saying of the GOP, “They’ve got 17 people and they haven’t broken their party yet, I’m sure we can handle six or seven.”
The opinions of these two crucial primary states echoed among state chairs across the rest of the country, although some were less optimistic about Biden’s chances.
Nancy Worley, chair of the Alabama Democratic Party, said “under most circumstances” it would be too late for a candidate to enter the race, but since he’s the vice president his name recognition makes it possible for him to enter the race now, but Worley noted it’s time for Biden to make up his mind.
“At this point he needs to either make a decision or decide not to get in,” she said.
Mark Hammons, the chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, agreed, answering “just barely” when asked if there is still time for Biden to enter the race, adding it will be “hard for him to catch up” and running at this point requires having key people in key states and that is getting “harder and harder every day.”
Ana Cuprill, the party chair from Wyoming, says as far as her state goes she has “not heard too much talk about Biden being a viable candidate. Most folks are still fairly in one camp or the other with Secretary Clinton or Sen. Sanders.”
Vince Powers, the chairman of the Nebraska Democratic Party, said he hears from party members, “’Boy, I hope he jumps in,’” but stressed that may not turn into votes, although he thinks when it comes to his state “ a lot of Democrats would be pleased if he jumped in.”
Bruce Poole, the Maryland chairman, is in the camp of those who believe Biden will jump in saying he is “starting to think more likely than not the vice president is going to run.” In a compliment to Biden, he said voters now “want authentic.”
Gilberto Hinojosa, the chair of the Texas Democratic Party, says that even though some state officials have already backed Clinton, it’s not a done deal. “It certainly is not going to be easy for anyone to cut into that level of support,” he said. “But Joe Biden is well-liked. He’s a great orator. He’s someone people genuinely love and believe in, so he could perhaps do that.”
Jim Burn, the party chair of Biden’s original home state of Pennsylvania, said he is excited about Biden’s possible run because “we feel as if we know him. He has that connect-ability.”
“Only the vice president knows the answers if the timing is right,” Burn said. “The fact that he continues to hold high level meetings with the senators and other stakeholders tells me he’s moving towards a decision.”
Utah Chairman Peter Corroon said he thinks there would be “a lot of people who would be open to looking at Joe Biden.”
“I think if he’s going to get in, now is the time; if he waits too much longer, he’s going to be playing catch up especially with the machine Hillary Clinton is,” Corroon said, noting again now may be the time Biden’s perceived authenticity could help a possible run, adding it’s helped one candidate on the other side of the aisle.
“Joe Biden is Joe Biden, with all the great things about him and all of his thoughts and failures. The one thing he is is real and I think the people of the United States are looking for real people now, and frankly I think that’s why Donald Trump has been successful.”
ABC News’ Ryan Struyk, Veronica Stracqualursi, MaryAlice Parks, Tal Kopan, Louise Simpson and Alana Abramson contributed to this report.