US President Joe Biden has announced he will run for re-election in 2024, setting the stage for a potential rematch with Donald Trump. The Democrat had been expected to seek a second four-year term and launched his campaign in a video on Tuesday.
He said it was a pivotal moment with freedoms and rights under threat.
Vice-President Kamala Harris, 58, will once again be his running mate.
Mr Biden, 80, is already the oldest president in US history and is likely to face questions about his age throughout the campaign. He would be 86 after finishing a second full term in 2029.
Within hours of announcing his candidacy, President Biden addressed Union workers in Washington, DC where he was greeted with cheers of “Let’s go, Joe” and “Four more years!”.
Throughout the speech the president underscored what appears to be his slogan for the 2024 campaign: “It’s time to finish the job.”
He touted his efforts to restore the American economy after the pandemic as well as the bipartisan infrastructure bill, before teasing what he would do with a second term in office.
Mr Biden faced off against Mr Trump in 2020, defeating the Republican after promising to “restore the soul of the United States”.
Mr Trump has already launched his bid for the presidency, raising the prospect that both men will face each other again on 5 November 2024. They are considered favourites to win their nominations although Mr Trump faces competition from the likes of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Mr Biden has long signalled that he planned to stand for re-election with the main question being when he would announce. After spending the weekend with aides at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland, he opted to launch his campaign on the fourth anniversary of his 2020 announcement.
Julie Chavez Rodriguez, a senior White House adviser, will serve as his campaign manager.
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who was Mr Biden’s chief rival in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, said on Tuesday that he will not challenge Mr Biden in 2024. Instead, he endorsed his re-election bid.
But recent polls suggest Mr Biden’s decision to run is a divisive one both within the party and nationally. An NBC News poll over the weekend found that 70% of Americans, and just over half of Democrats, believe he should not run again.
A majority of people who said Mr Biden should not run cited his age as a concern. Forty-eight per cent said it was a “major concern”.
His approval ratings remain negative by a significant margin but Mr Biden’s hopes of re-election were boosted late last year when his party performed better than expected in the midterm elections.
He also has a series of legislative achievements to tout on the campaign trail, including a $1.2tn infrastructure bill and the marshalling of Western support for Ukraine since Russia’s invasion.
There are currently two other announced candidates for the Democratic nomination – bestselling self-help author Marianne Williamson and anti-vaccine activist Robert Kennedy Jr.
By: Isaac Clottey