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Vice President Kamala Harris top alternative to replace US President Joe Biden

July 3, 2024
Vice President Kamala Harris top alternative to replace US President Joe Biden

Vice President Kamala Harris is the top alternative to replace U.S. President Joe Biden if he decides not to continue his reelection campaign, according to seven senior sources at the Biden campaign, the White House and the Democratic National Committee with knowledge of current discussions on the topic.

Biden's fumbling, sometimes-incoherent and widely panned first-debate performance against Republican rival Donald Trump last week set off a wave of panic within the Democratic party over concerns that he may not be fit enough to serve a second term and prompted calls for top aides to resign.

Some influential Democrats have floated alternatives to Biden besides Harris, including popular cabinet members and Democratic governors like Gavin Newsom from California, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania. But trying to sidestep Harris is wishful thinking and would be nearly impossible, these sources, who did not wish to be named, said.

If named as the party nominee, Harris, 59, would take over money raised by the Biden campaign and inherit campaign infrastructure, the sources said. She also has the highest name recognition among all the alternatives and the highest polling among Democrats who could seriously be considered a candidate, the sources said.

In a /Ipsos poll published Tuesday, Harris trailed Trump by one percentage point at 42% to 43%, a difference that was well within the poll's 3.5 percentage point margin of error, a showing statistically just as strong as Biden's.

In addition, she has already been vetted for national office and has survived intense scrutiny from Republicans, they said. Also, U.S. Representative Jim Clyburn, the man who was key to Biden's 2020 win, told MSNBC he would support Harris to be the Democratic nominee if Biden stepped aside.

“It's pretty near impossible to win the nomination over the vice president,” said Michael Trujillo, a Democratic strategist from California who worked for Hillary Clinton's campaign in 2008 and 2016.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Tuesday that Biden just had a “bad night” at the debate and would continue to make his case for reelection to the American people. The Biden campaign deferred to Harris's team for comment on the story.

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