A Draft Biden 2016 committee is busy building a movement to support a Joe Biden presidential bid – replete with bumper stickers declaring "I'm Ridin' With Biden"
– but the vice president isn't yet on board, The New York Times reports.
William Pierce, who launched a Chicago-based Super PAC,
and other Biden backers insist he's the best Democrat to carry on the legacy of President Barack Obama, and have collected more than 81,000 petition signatures, sponsored house parties, secured endorsements, made fundraising calls, issued news releases and, on Saturday, will sponsor a rally in Davenport, Iowa, in hopes of getting Biden to toss his hat in the ring, The Times reports.
"We’re bringing on more people. We just want to show the vice president the support he has," Pierce, an Army Reserve captain who served in Iraq, told The Times.
"When and if he gets into the race, he’ll have a foundation. He'll have some endorsers. He'll have a grass-roots organization ready to go."
But The Times reports Biden hasn't endorsed the effort, called, visited or publicly acknowledged it.
Nevertheless, the movement illustrates "an undercurrent of discontent" in the Democratic Party with the idea of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sailing to an all-but-certain nomination, The Times reports.
"We’re trying to engage Democrats who up until this point have felt disengaged by a coronation," Joseph Schweitzer, who serves as the Draft Biden committee’s finance director, told The Times.
Biden hasn't ruled out a campaign but has made no public move toward one as his eldest son, Beau, battled brain cancer and died last month.
The Times reports several people close to the vice president see no real chance he'll run as long as Clinton is in the race. Biden has said he'll announce a decision by the end of the summer.
In the meantime, Pierce and most of the approximately 10 others who work full-time for the committee hope to collect 500,000 petition signatures by the end of summer and have been raising money, though they won't yet say how much.
And though Biden is far behind Clinton
in the polls, the activists aren't worried.
"As soon as he were to hint or even drop a line to anybody that had a say, I think that poll number would go far up and we wouldn’t have a problem about viability or electability," Ahmed Khan, the draft committee's communications director, told The Times.
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