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Joe Biden begins taking money for a 2020 presidential campaign
[NEW YORK] Former Vice President Joe Biden has begun accepting financial donations for a 2020 presidential campaign, an unambiguous sign that he intends to begin his challenge to President Donald Trump within days.
Several Democratic donors and party fundraisers received emails in recent days encouraging them to write sizable checks to support Biden's planned candidacy, and to mail them to a Democratic consulting firm in Northern Virginia.
The pre-emptive push for large donations stands in sharp contrast to the effort many Democratic candidates have made to court small donors as a sign of their appeal to the party's grassroots base. In the emails reviewed by The New York Times, Mr Biden's allies acknowledged he was not yet able to accept online contributions because he has not become a candidate. He is expected to announce his campaign next week.
Thomas M. McInerney, an employment litigator in San Francisco, wrote in one solicitation Wednesday that he was part of a group of Democratic donors who think Mr Biden "would be a very strong candidate well-positioned to take on Trump."
"We are trying to assess what kind of hard financial commitments we would have on day one, in support of his presidential candidacy," Mr McInerney wrote. He urged recipients to help Mr Biden "make a splash" when he announces.
Mr McInerney confirmed in an interview that he was supportive of Biden and had spoken with a Biden adviser about stirring early financial support for him in the Bay Area.
"He's been, I think, a strong progressive on most if not all issues, and he would be able to take the fight to Trump," Mr McInerney said of Biden.
The donation drive by Mr Biden's allies is the latest indication that he expects to rely on the backing of some of the Democratic Party's wealthiest contributors, many of whom have held off on donating to other contenders in anticipation of Mr Biden's entry.
The pursuit of big donors could be politically risky for Mr Biden in a Democratic primary already infused with outrage about the influence of the wealthy in politics. Some of Biden's rivals have effectively sworn off high-dollar fundraising.
A spokesman for Mr Biden declined to comment on the fundraising activity or the timing of his entry into the race.