Vice President Joe Biden returned to work at the White House Monday as the political intrigue about whether he will pursue a 2016 bid mounts. While the VP makes up his mind, one group is paving the way for a potential Biden presidential campaign.
The super PAC Draft Biden, which started as an idea in March in the Chicago living room of 27-year-old William Pierce, now the group’s executive director, is ramping up its efforts in case the vice president decides to make a third run for the White House.
The group received a major boost at the beginning of August when Josh Alcorn, a top strategist for former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, joined the campaign as a senior adviser.
“I think Joe Biden can win this presidential race,” Alcorn told ABC News White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl. “There's a real enthusiasm for a kind of candidate like him, somebody who can look somebody in the eye, connect with them on a very real level, tell them what he thinks the issues facing the country are and then back his words up with actions.”
The group is now focusing on three areas -– reminding voters of Biden’s record and resume, building a grassroots organization and raising the money needed to execute those plans.
Here’s a look at what Draft Biden is doing in the weeks leading up to a potential Biden presidential bid.
THE GRASSROOTS CAMPAIGN
Draft Biden is building up its grassroots network and plans on implementing an aggressive operation in the early caucus and primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.
James Rigdon, the group’s outreach director, is lining up activists and elected officials in each of the early states, many of whom supported Biden in his previous presidential bids, to help with the organization’s efforts on the ground.
Draft Biden is also broadening its campaign beyond the early states. They have so far signed up volunteers in 46 states and the District of Columbia and are looking for volunteers in Idaho, Oregon, South Dakota and Wyoming by the end of the month.
The super PAC is also focusing on a cultivating a grassroots e-mail list, which could be tapped for fundraising. More than 200,000 people have signed their petition to “draft” Biden, up from 150,000 earlier this month.
To execute this campaign, they will need a lot of cash. Draft Biden has set a fundraising goal of $2.5-3 million in the next four to six weeks -– a big jump from the less than $79,000 the group raised in the third fundraising quarter.
The group says they are well on their way to reaching that goal, but declined to reveal the exact amount they have raised to date. More than 1,000 unique donors have contributed to Draft Biden, and some have donated multiple times, the team says. They saw their biggest online fundraising day on Sunday –- one day after the vice president’s meeting with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts.
Draft Biden doesn’t plan on stockpiling that money. It will be poured directly into executing the program they have developed to build an infrastructure to remind people of Biden’s record, create a grassroots network, and establish a presence in early caucus and primary states.
COURTING PROMINENT DEMOCRATS
The Democratic National Committee is hosting its annual summer meeting in Minneapolis this week. Though he always has an open invitation to attend, the vice president won’t be joining the meeting, a DNC official says. But Draft Biden will be on the ground to make up for it.
On Thursday and Friday, the group will host four informational meetings for Democratic activists and superdelegates to learn more about their efforts and ask them to keep an open mind about a potential Biden bid.
“Our ask for you today is not financial: We are asking you to keep an open mind and consider a Biden candidacy,” Alcorn wrote in a memo to Democrats ahead of the meeting. “Our country, the Democratic Party, and yes, the Vice President deserves nothing less. The more you consider it, the more sense it makes.”