Rep. Ro Khanna says centrist Democrat could challenge Biden in 2024

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Rep. California’s Ro Khanna, a leading progressive Democrat, said Monday that centrist Democrats could pose the biggest political threat to President Joe Biden in the 2024 presidential primary, a day after West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin rejected a potential White House bid.

“I think the irony is that they were the ones criticizing the president much more than the progressive left,” Khanna said in an interview with TBEN News about the policy and the upcoming 2024 election.

And Khanna believes that fellow Biden allies should not rule out the possibility that Manchin or anyone else could challenge Mr Biden.

“I’m not ruling it out,” he said of a primary challenge to Mr Biden from a business-friendly Democrat. “I think [Biden] would win such a challenge decisively and that would be a pity. But you know, I’m not ruling it out.”

Mr Biden has long said he intends to run for re-election, although he has not yet made a final decision or announcement. Biden confidants, including Rep. South Carolina Democrat James Clyburn have told TBEN News in recent weeks that they are confident Biden will run and have urged Democrats not to challenge him.

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When asked if he thinks Mr Biden could take on a Progressive primary challenger, Khanna admitted it is possible, but he doesn’t believe Mr Biden would take on “a serious challenge” from the left.

Should the president decide not to seek re-election, Khanna said Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is consulting with Senate Democrats, could enter the 2024 race for a third White House bid.

“Of course, why wouldn’t he?” Khanna said. “He’s built a huge movement.”

Khanna added, “He was a proponent of ‘Medicare for all’, a free public university, a living wage and childcare for all. Of course I think he would look into it. And he almost got nominated last time.” In 2020, Sanders won the New Hampshire primary and performed well in other states. He remained in the Democratic race until he suspended his campaign in early April 2020 following Mr Biden’s wins in the Super Tuesday contests and other rivals endorsing Biden’s candidacy.

Khanna, who served as national co-chair of Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign, underlined that a 2024 Sanders campaign is not something he is pushing and said he and Sanders both remain supporters of Mr Biden and expect the president to follow through on his plans. the upcoming months.

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Meanwhile, the president continues to face mounting criticism from some Democrats over his handling of secretly marked material found in his former office and home.

On NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Manchin didn’t rule out a possible presidential run in 2024, saying, “I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that when I make my decision, I make it based on what’s out there. best, what I think I can do to support, and best for my country and my state.”

“I haven’t decided what I’m going to do until I see what the country looks like then,” Manchin said.

Manchin also called Biden’s handling of classified material “irresponsible” and said he supports Attorney General Merrick Garland’s decision to appoint special counsel to investigate the matter.

“Being accountable and accountable is what we all are,” Manchin said. “And to place them in unsecured areas is irresponsible.”

Khanna told TBEN News he believes Mr Biden has “handled this with character” and is fully cooperating with the investigators.

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“I expect he will announce” in the coming weeks, and “I would support him if he does,” Khanna said of Mr Biden. “Everything I’ve heard leads me to believe that the vast majority of Democrats will support him.”

As for his own political career, Khanna is considering a possible 2024 state senate in California, but is waiting to see if his colleague and veteran progressive legislator, Rep. Barbara Lee, gets into the primary race.

“Many Bernie Sanders delegates have asked me to watch the race, and I will be watching the race over the next few months,” he said. “But my very good friend Barbara Lee is considering the race. I have tremendous admiration for her. She’s my neighbor and I’ve said it will weigh heavily on me when factoring into my decision – which Barbara Lee does.”

Fernando Suarez contributed.