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Obama Donors Will Not Financially Commit to Biden Presidential Bid

Joe Biden / Getty Images
Joe Biden / Getty Images
• August 9, 2017 9:18 am

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Former President Barack Obama's major donors are not committing their financial support to former Vice President Joe Biden for a 2020 presidential run.

The Hill contacted more than 10 top Obama donors, all of whom are signaling that Biden cannot depend on their support and they are looking for a fresher face to run against President Donald Trump in 2020.

One former Obama donor said that Biden had over 40 years of experience in Washington, and another said that is exactly the opposite of what the Democratic Party "wants right now."

"There are some who love Joe and have a lot of respect for him but want a whole new face for the party and want an aspirational voice," an Obama-Biden donor said. Another donor said that they all had to be "realistic and strategic, not emotional," and they cannot support a candidate simply out of obligation.

Another issue donors have with Biden is he will be 77 when the next presidential race comes around. Many progressives are hopeful that Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) will run, but donors worry about Sanders' age on the trail as well—he'll be 78 in 2020. Donors also fear that Warren will not be able to appeal to centrists.

Biden has not officially said whether he intends to run for president, but with his book coming out next month and his campaign-style speeches in New Hampshire and other states, allies say this could be a barometer for his presidential run.

Donors indicated that the "fresh face" they are looking for could be Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.). She appeared in the Hamptons in late June to meet with top donors.

After attending this event, many donors felt that she would seek higher office and even Obama aides say she "fits the bill as a face for the party's future," the Hill reported.

"Kamala has come to embody what's next for our party," said former Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt.

Biden had trouble with fundraising and donors in 2016 when he was considering whether to run in the Democratic primary following his son's death. He knew many donors had already committed their support to Hillary Clinton.

The former vice president may find himself in the same predicament this time around.

"I hate to say it, because I love Joe, but some feel he's yesterday's news," a donor said.

"Elections are about the future not the past," another Obama donor said.

A Morning Consult/Politico poll release in June concluded that 74 percent of Democrats viewed Biden favorably.