Biden Adds Weight to Manchester Mayoral Election, Fueling 2020 Speculation
MANCHESTER – Vice President Joe Biden Friday weighed in on the close contest for mayor of New Hampshire’s largest city, supporting Democrat candidate Joyce Craig.
In a video released just four days before Election Day, Biden said "Joyce is the right candidate at the right time. She'll make a real difference for Manchester."
Looking straight into the camera, the former vice president added that “voting in local elections is the best way to bring about change in your community.”
Craig, an alderman, is challenging Mayor Ted Gatsas in Tuesday’s election. The Republican mayor is seeking a fifth two-year term steering the Queen City. The officially non-partisan election is a rematch of the 2015 showdown, when Gatsas narrowly edged Craig by just 64 votes.
Biden met Craig in April, when he headlined a major New Hampshire Democratic Party fundraiser held in Manchester.
The longtime U.S senator from Delaware made unsuccessful bids for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 and 2008, before serving two terms as vice president under President Barack Obama. Biden came close to running for the White House again in 2016, but his plans were derailed by the death of his eldest son Beau of brain cancer.
At the April event in New Hampshire, Biden said 2020 is not on his radar.
“Guys, I’m not running,” he told the audience.
However, he’s kept up a busy political schedule the last couple of months, and he recently fueled more 2020 speculation in an interview with Vanity Fair.
"I haven't decided to run," he said. "But I've decided I'm not going to decide not to run. We'll see what happens."
Biden isn’t the only potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to weigh in on the Manchester mayoral race.
Saturday afternoon Congressman John Delaney, of Maryland, will campaign with Craig. Saturday night, Congressman Tim Ryan, of Ohio, will headline a Manchester Democrats pre-election dinner.
A few weeks ago, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, a 2016 Democratic presidential candidate who’s seriously considering another White House bid, came to Manchester to help campaign with Craig, as did Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in August.
With Donald Trump in the White House, there’s been no concrete early moves by other Republicans for a primary challenge in 2020. And because of that, Gatsas has not enjoyed the attention from potential 2020 contenders that Craig has witnessed.
New Hampshire’s popular Republican governor, Chris Sununu, campaigned with Gatsas last weekend and starred in a new web video for the Gatsas re-election campaign.