Allies of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders are quietly urging California Rep. Ro Khanna to run for president if Joe Biden declines to run, Politico reports.
Former Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver and former senior adviser Mark Longabaugh have encouraged Khanna to consider a campaign if Biden ultimately decides against seeking reelection.
“I think Ro would be a very effective candidate,” Longabaugh told Politico. “This guy has a message that’s very powerful. … Ro is basically saying, ‘Is there a way in which we can reconstruct the economy so that all of the wealth is not just being generated on the East Coast, West Coast, or out of my congressional district?’”
Khanna said he had no interest in running for president in 2024 but left the door open to 2028.
“I’m not running in 2024,” Khanna said. “I fully expect the president to run and intend to support him strongly. If for some reason he didn’t, that would be very disappointing, but there are a number of other candidates who I think I could get behind who would make sure that the Democrats beat Donald Trump.”
Beyond that, he said, “after the ’24 cycle will be a time where America will start to look to the future.”
Democratic bench lining up:
Biden is widely expected to seek re-election and, if he doesn’t, Vice President Kamala Harris would likely command a lot of the attention but a growing list of governors, senators, and House members are already considering a potential 2024 bid, according to Politico.
Khanna has stoked the presidential rumors, traveling to South Carolina and spending big in Iowa, two key early primary contests.
“People aren’t going to early states at this point because they’re not interested,” said Democratic consultant Joe Caiazzo told Politico. “It’s crystal-clear that Ro Khanna is a part of the next generation of progressive leadership in America.”
Khanna is also considering a potential Senate bid if Sen. Dianne Feinstein does not seek reelection. His team recently conducted a poll that included him, Sen. Alex Padilla, and California Reps. Adam Schiff and Katie Porter.