President Biden heads to Iowa on Tuesday to push his economic agenda and highlight the moves he’s making to lower costs for working families.
The trip to the Hawkeye State will be the president’s first since winning the White House in the 2020 election. And his visit’s expected to shine a spotlight on whether Iowa will continue to kick off the presidential nominating calendar and whether Biden will seek a second term in 2024.
Biden’s expected to showcase the investments his administration’s making in Iowa through the massive bipartisan infrastructure measure he signed into law last autumn.
The White House says that at the event in Menlo, which is 45 miles west of Des Moines, the president will “discuss his Administration’s actions to lower costs for working families, reduce the impact of Putin’s Price Hike, and Build a Better America with Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investments in rural communities.”And the stop in Menlo kicks off the administration’s rural infrastructure tour.
While this is an official trip to push policy, Democratic strategists say that campaign politics both in the 2022 midterms and the 2024 White House race are considerations in the president’s itinerary.
“There’s no decision that the White House makes about where to send the president that doesn’t have some sort of political consideration. They’re not choosing these places by accident, ever,” a Democratic strategist with ties to Biden world told Fox News.
But the strategist pointed to next year’s midterms, rather than the 2024 White House race, as the main political motivator for heading to Iowa.
Menlo is located in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District, which is represented by two-term Democratic Rep. Cindy Axne, who won her 2018 election and 2020 reelection by razor-thin margins. House Republicans, who need a net gain of just five seats in the 435 member chamber to win back the majority, are targeting Axne as she runs for reelection this year.
Thanks to Iowa’s longstanding lead off position in the presidential nominating calendar, the president’s stop in Des Moines will also likely generate more speculation about whether the 79-year-old Biden will run for reelection in 2024.
The then-former vice president made history in November 2020 when he became the oldest person ever elected president. If he campaigns for re-election in 2024 and wins, Biden would be 82 at his second inaugural and 86 at the end of his second term.
Asked over a year ago at the first formal news conference of his presidency about his 2024 plans, Biden said, “My answer is yes. I plan on running for re-election. That’s my expectation.”
And he said in an interview with ABC News in December that “If I’m in the health I’m in now, if I’m in good health, then in fact, I would run again.”
Former President Donald Trump, at his 2017 inauguration, made history at age 70 as the oldest American sworn in as president. That record was shattered four years later by Biden.
Fifty-two percent of those questioned in a Wall Street Journal survey conducted early last month said they didn’t think the president will launch a re-election campaign, with 29% saying they do expect Biden to seek re-election and 19% unsure.
In November, the president made New Hampshire first stop to sell the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure measure that he had signed into law two days earlier. Besides being a key midterm election battleground state, New Hampshire for a century has held the first primary in the presidential nominating calendar.
The president’s trip to Iowa comes as Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) seriously considers a revamping of its 2024 presidential nominating calendar that could knock Iowa from the leadoff position it’s held for half a century. It’s likely Biden will face questions regarding the Democrats’ caucus and primary schedule.
Iowa’s leadoff status faced scrutiny last month at the DNC’s winter meetings, as many members who spoke were clearly open to reordering the presidential nominating calendar to better reflect the party’s growing diversity and values.
The knock for years against Iowa and New Hampshire among many Democrats has been that the states are too White, lack any major urban areas, and aren’t representative of a Democratic Party that’s become increasingly diverse over the past several decades. Nevada and South Carolina are much more diverse than either Iowa or New Hampshire.
Complicating matters, Nevada Democrats last year passed a bill into law that would transform the state’s presidential caucus into a primary and aim to move the contest to the leadoff position in the race for the White House, ahead of Iowa and New Hampshire. And compounding Iowa’s issues was the botched reporting of the 2020 caucuses, which became a national and international story, and an embarrassment for Iowa Democrats as well as the DNC.
The DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee – which oversees the party’s presidential nominating calendar – resumes discussions on reordering the schedule when it reconvenes on Wednesday.
Biden finished a disappointing fourth in Iowa’s 2020 caucuses. Trump carried Iowa by eight points over Biden.