President Joe Biden revealed his plans to run for reelection to Rev. Al Sharpton last month in a private conversation, according to an official of Sharpton's National Action Network.
"I'm going to do it again," Biden reportedly told Sharpton in the Roosevelt Room at the White House, NBC News reports. Sharpton is also an MSNBC host.
Although Biden's supporters have said he will seek a second term, the president has, up until now, stopped short of stating his intentions plainly, at least partially to avoid setting off campaign finance reporting laws.
Coming at the conclusion of a meeting with civil rights leaders, Biden's comments signal a firmer commitment to appearing on the 2024 ballot.
According to NBC, Black voters were crucial to Biden's comeback in the Democrat primaries in 2020, helping him win the South Carolina race after he failed to come in first place in the initial contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada. His unbeatable delegate lead on Super Tuesday was mainly due to his strong support among Black voters, according to the news outlet.
At the Sept. 2 White House meeting, Sharpton reminded Biden that the two had spoken about the 2020 race in January 2019 at an event honoring Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.
Biden had not yet declared his candidacy at the time and was looking for an endorsement from Sharpton, or, at least an assurance of neutrality. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., both of whom are Black, were among the field of candidates then.
Though he did not state whether he was throwing his hat in the ring at that point, Biden sought Sharpton's advice about the 2020 race.
Sharpton told the civil rights leaders assembled at the White House last month that he was convinced he was among the first to know that Biden would decide to run after that conversation in 2019.
During a photo when the civil rights meeting finished, Biden told Sharpton he was correct that he was among the first to know about his intentions in 2020. The president then told Sharpton he was going to "do it again," according to Sharpton's aides.
Chatter about an alternative Democrat nominee has subsided as Biden's job approval numbers have risen. The RealClearPolitics average of polls showed an increase of 5.3 percentage points — from 36.8% to 42.1% currently — since late July.
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