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Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota early next month will become the latest alum of the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination race to return to New Hampshire, the state that for a century has held the first primary in the country.
While Klobuchar’s mission is all about 2022, her trip does spark a touch of 2024 buzz as speculation persists that 79-year-old President Biden may not seek reelection for a second term even though he’s repeatedly said he’ll run again.
Klobuchar, who had a solid third place finish in the 2020 New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary – just a few points behind Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and now Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg – will headline a state party dinner and fundraiser on March 5.
“The path to holding and expanding the Democratic majority in Congress runs through New Hampshire. I am thrilled to be back in the Granite State,” Klobuchar said in a statement announcing her return to the crucial battleground state where the GOP aims to flip a Senate and a House seat in November’s midterm elections.
Klobuchar returned to New Hampshire in the fall of 2020 to campaign on behalf of Biden and down-ballot Democrats, and made another trip to the Granite State last year to attend a wedding. Ahead of her upcoming trip, the senator noted that “I’m also looking forward to seeing some old friends and joining so many others in celebrating the hard work and leadership of Senator Martha Fuller Clark.”
The dinner, in the coastal city of Portsmouth, is in honor Fuller Clark, a former longtime state senator, a New Hampshire Democratic Party vice chair for a decade and a half, and a delegate to every Democratic National Convention since 1996.
Klobuchar is far from the only 2020 Democratic presidential contender to return to New Hampshire.
Vice President Kamala Harris, who ended her struggling White House campaign two months before the start of the primary and caucus calendar, traveled to the Granite State last April to highlight the Biden administration’s investments in broadband.
Buttigieg also made a stop in the state in December to showcase the benefits of the recently passed $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure measure, which was a top domestic achievement of the Biden administration.
The president, holding a November event in front of a red-listed bridge in New Hampshire, made the state his first stop to sell the landmark legislation after signing the bill into law just two days earlier.
There has been plenty of chatter and speculation over whether the president will run for reelection in 2024. Biden made history in 2020 when he became the oldest person ever elected president. If he campaigns for reelection in 2024 and wins, Biden would be 82 at his second inaugural and 86 at the end of his second term.
Asked last March at the first formal news conference of his presidency about his 2024 plans, Biden said, “My answer is yes. I plan on running for reelection. That’s my expectation.”
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.”
Aiming to tamp down on speculation regarding Harris, who like Biden suffers from flagging poll numbers, the president said last month at a news conference when asked about 2024 that “she’s going to be my running mate, number one…And number two…I think she’s doing a good job.”
But the trips to New Hampshire keep coming.
“Some people are preparing for the potential of Biden not running again, even though it’s highly likely that he does, and they want to make sure that they have their ducks in a row,” a longtime Democratic strategist, who asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely, told Fox News.
The operative, a veteran of numerous presidential campaigns, suggested, “I think it’s a clear signal that there are major problems in the Harris orbit if people are already looking at making trips, and some in fact are already are taking trips, to the Granite State.”
Pence making back-to-back stops in South Carolina
Former Vice President Mike Pence will deliver remarks at a private Christian university’s commencement ceremony when he returns in late April to South Carolina, the state that holds the third contest in the Republican Party’s presidential nominating calendar.
Fox News was first to report on Friday that the former vice president will visit the Palmetto State’s capital city to speak during the April 30 commencement at Columbia International University, which describes itself as a conservative, biblically focused school.
As previously reported, Pence will return to South Carolina days later, in early May, to address a dinner on behalf of the Carolina Pregnancy Center, a Christian facility that provides counseling, supplies, and adoption services to women who decide to go through with unplanned pregnancies.
The center, located in Spartanburg in the state’s conservative northwest corner, has become a must-stop for some GOP presidential hopefuls in recent election cycles, as they’ve flocked to South Carolina to showcase their pro-life credentials in front of the state’s social conservative Republican primary voters.
Since the end of former President Donald Trump’s administration just over a year ago, Pence has made three trips to South Carolina, which for decades has played a pivotal role in deciding the eventual Republican standard-bearer.
During his lengthy political career as a congressman, governor of Indiana, and vice president, Pence has long been known as a friend of social conservatives as he has pushed for restrictions on abortion.
Hogan rules out 2022 but not 2024
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland on Tuesday officially ruled out a run for the Senate this year. Still, the term-limited governor – who is in his eighth and final year steering the blue state of Maryland – left the door wide open to a potential 2024 GOP presidential nomination bid.
Hogan, who has been courted by some top Senate Republicans in the nation’s capital to launch a GOP challenge against Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen in the 2022 midterm elections, made his announcement near the end of a news conference in Maryland’s capital city of Annapolis.
“I want to put to rest a question that some of you have been asking me,” the governor said. “I want to let you know that I will not be a candidate for the United States Senate.”
Hogan, a vocal Republican critic of former President Donald Trump, appeared to leave the door wide open to a possible run for his party’s 2024 presidential nomination.
The governor said that his decision not to run for the Senate this year “does not mean that I plan to sit on the sidelines when it comes to the serious challenges facing our country and our democracy. I’m going to continue to call it like I see it, and I’ll keep speaking out about the divisiveness and dysfunction in Washington and about fixing the broken politics.”
Looking ahead, he noted that “my current job as governor runs until January 2023, and then we’ll take a look and see what the future holds after that.”