Monday 14 October 2019

Biden emerges as early 2020 front-runner for the Democrats

Veteran: Joe Biden served as Barack Obama’s No. 2
Veteran: Joe Biden served as Barack Obama’s No. 2

Rob Crilly

Former US vice-president Joe Biden has emerged as an early front-runner among Democrats vying for the 2020 presidential nomination with a dominant lead among voters in Iowa, the first state that will express its preference next year.

A poll has found 32pc of likely party voters saying they back Mr Biden as their first choice, ahead of 19pc for Bernie Sanders and 11pc for Beto O'Rourke, the 46-year-old politician who came close to an against-the-odds win during midterm elections in Texas last month.

The results have Democrats salivating about a dream ticket that matches a 76-year-old veteran popular with blue-collar voters with Mr O'Rourke, a telegenic businessman with a knack for producing viral videos. "It could be a way to get past the age issue with Joe," said a Democratic strategist. "Then again, it's two white men."

Mr Biden has not decided on joining a crowded field of contenders but has done little to dispel speculation, saying his age is an advantage.

"I'll be as straight with you as I can. I think I'm the most qualified person in the country to be president," he told a University of Montana audience this month. "The issues we face as a country today are the issues that have been in my wheelhouse that I've worked on my whole life."

His supporters say he is best placed to woo back the parts of the Rust Belt and middle America that were unimpressed with Hillary Clinton and defected to Donald Trump in 2016. But fears remain that the Democrats could lose the youth vote if they plump for Mr Biden, Mr Sanders (77) or Elizabeth Warren (69).

Reports at the weekend suggested Mr Biden was talking to friends about whether he was too old to run for the White House. So they have floated the idea of teaming up with Mr O'Rourke. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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