A key surrogate of President Joe Biden warned fellow Democrats not to challenge the president during the 2024 presidential primary.
In an interview with CBS News on Wednesday, Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) stated that he is positive Biden will seek reelection and asked him to announce his intention to run in 2024. Biden has not yet signaled whether or not he will seek another term in office.
Clyburn warned other Democrats who might be considering a presidential run not to challenge Biden. He noted that in 1980, Democrat Sen. Ted Kennedy challenged then-President Jimmy Carter for the Democratic presidential nomination and ultimately failed, although Carter eventually lost to Republican Ronald Reagan.
“I don’t think he will [face a 2024 Democrat challenger], and I don’t think he should,” Clyburn told CBS. “The history is very clear on what happens when you challenge a sitting president like this.”
In 2020, Clyburn endorsed Biden before he ultimately took first place in South Carolina’s primaries. At the time, the South Carolina congressman was the House majority whip.
“I’m all in for President Biden,” Clyburn told the outlet, adding that he is “deserving of reelection. And I do believe he will be reelected irrespective of who the Republicans put up.”
While Biden has not yet officially announced a campaign, he’s often suggested that he intends to run again. White House chief of staff Ron Klain last December told reporters he expected Biden to make his announcement shortly after the holiday season ended.
Previously, Biden indicated that he would not declare his candidacy because it would possibly violate federal election laws and campaign financing rules. In a similar move, former President Donald Trump, who announced last month he’s running for president, had stated that he was holding off on running due to election laws—which he often has described as antiquated.
During a news conference after the Nov. 8 midterm elections, Biden told reporters that his intention is to run but said he won’t make an announcement until early 2023. There has been considerable speculation about Biden not running again, prompting questions about whether other prominent Democrats could take his place.
“Our intention is to run again, that’s been our intention, regardless of what the outcome of this election was,” Biden said last month. He did not provide more details.
A final decision, he added, would be contingent on his health and discussions with his family. Biden confirmed he’ll speak to his family over the holiday season.
“My guess is it’ll be early next year that we make that judgment,” he said after the midterms.
One of Biden’s possible challengers, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) recently told The Associated Press that he would make a decision about his 2024 intentions “at the appropriate time.” Nina Turner, who chaired Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign, said after Thursday’s announcement that she hopes a “freedom-fighting progressive” mounts a primary challenge against Biden in 2024.
Earlier this month, Biden’s political outlook veered into more uncertain territory after Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to investigate the Democratic president’s handling of classified documents.
Some Democrats publicly noted that the development was at best an unwelcome distraction at an inopportune time that muddies the case against Trump. The Republican former president is facing a special counsel of his own and is under federal criminal investigation for his handling of documents.
In November, Trump announced a third bid for president. He’s the first—and only—Republican to do so.
It means that the current and former presidents of the United States are both under investigation by special counsels as they gear up for a potential rematch in 2024.
“No one’s going to say this is helpful,” veteran Democratic strategist James Carville said of the Garland announcement. “It’s pretty evident that’s not the case.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.