Combine President Joe Biden’s age (he’ll be 82 shortly after the 2024 election) and his ongoing political struggles (he’s mired in the low 40s in job approval) and you get this: a series of stories examining whether Biden runs again and, if not, who might take his place.
We are in the midst of just one of those news cycles, with The New York Times publishing a big takeout on the potential Biden replacements within the Democratic Party over the weekend.
The White House, aware of the whispers, made clear Biden is planning to go for a second term. “The President has every intention of running for reelection,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday.
But … what if Biden’s plans change? Below, a look at the most commonly mentioned names for 2024 contenders and a single line on their viability.
* Kamala Harris: She’s undoubtedly struggled as vice president but she’s still the most likely Democrat not named Biden to wind up as the Democratic nominee in 2024.
* Pete Buttigieg: The most naturally talented candidate in the 2024 field, “Mayor Pete” has also been front and center selling Biden’s infrastructure bill.
* Elizabeth Warren: The Massachusetts senator is still popular among liberals – and wouldn’t be splitting the vote with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders this time around like she did in 2020.
* Amy Klobuchar: Other than Buttigieg, the Minnesota senator was probably the best regarded of the losing candidates in 2020 – and her Midwest roots are always a plus given the electoral map.
* Roy Cooper: Term-limited out of office in 2024, the North Carolina governor has ample time to consider his next step – starting with his service as the vice chairman of the Democratic Governors Association.
* Mitch Landrieu: Being tasked with implementing the infrastructure bill is a big (and high-profile) job that the former New Orleans mayor has taken to with relish.
* Gina Raimondo: She made the leap from Rhode Island governor to Biden administration commerce secretary but doubts remain as to whether she is too moderate to win a Democratic primary in this moment.
* Gretchen Whitmer: The Michigan governor needs to win what could be a tough reelection race next year before she can turn to considering a national run in earnest.
* Phil Murphy: The record of New Jersey governors running for president isn’t great of late (sorry, Chris Christie!) but Murphy could use the next few years of his governorship as a testing ground for some national policies for the party.
* J.B. Pritzker: Pritzker has two things going for him – 1) He’s the governor of a major Midwestern state (Illinois) and 2) he’s very, very rich.
* Stacey Abrams: Abrams talked openly about running in 2020 before passing on the race; but she needs to win the Georgia governor’s mansion in 2022 before thinking too much about 2024.
The Point: If Biden decides not to run, chances are we would be looking at a very crowded field of Democrats seeking to replace him.