Biden on Shaky Ground: Delegates Express Doubts About Presidential Nomination

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As the Democratic National Convention approaches, uncertainty lingers among party delegates over President Joe Biden’s ability to secure the nomination. Amidst the fallout from his debate performance, delegates interviewed on Friday expressed support for Biden’s bid for a second term, while acknowledging the window for change is closing.

While concerns about Biden’s future linger, delegates insist they are still committed to the president’s campaign. Michigan Democratic Party chairwoman Lavora Barnes acknowledged Biden’s debate performance was “rough,” but stands firmly behind him. “We are solidly behind President Biden here in Michigan, and we’re very focused on the work that we know we need to do to win in November,” Barnes said.

Some delegates, however, believe it’s too late to consider a replacement for Biden. “I unfortunately think it’s far too late for us to be having this debate, and I think we should stick with Biden,” said a delegate from Arizona, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The chaos and division is exactly what the Republicans want, and we’d be playing right into their hands if we actually think about replacing the top of our ticket.”

The convention is expected to feature a virtual roll call vote on August 7, which could signal concerns about Biden’s ability to lock up the nomination quickly. According to Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), delegates are not required to vote for Biden at the convention, as party rules require delegates’ votes to “reflect the sentiments of those who elected them.”

If Biden were to step down, Vice President Kamala Harris is expected to be the next choice, according to a delegate. “Everyone expects this convention to be settled before we get there. I mean, right now, it’s Biden,” the delegate said. “If it’s not Biden, people believe it’s going to be Kamala Harris.”

Any candidate needs a simple majority of the party’s estimated 3,939 pledged delegates on the first ballot to become the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee. Biden reached that number by winning state primaries and caucuses in mid-March.

However, Biden could release his delegates, or they could decide not to support him. If a candidate does not win during the first ballot, an additional 739 “superdelegates” have the opportunity to vote. The superdelegates include party elected officials and other high-profile figures.

Samantha-Jo Roth
Samantha-Jo Roth
Samantha-Jo Roth covers Congress and campaigns, specifically focusing on the Senate. She previously worked as an on-air correspondent, covering the Florida congressional delegation for Spectrum News. Her reporting on a mysterious disease killing coral off the coast of Florida was nominated for a regional Emmy. She also covered Capitol Hill and national politics for Gray Television.

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