Briefing

Will Kamala Harris run for president in 2024?

As second-in-command, the vice president would be a natural candidate. But would she be willing to take on her boss?

The 2024 election season is already ramping up to full swing, and since President Biden has not yet announced his candidacy for re-election, there is plenty of speculation regarding who could take his place. As second-in-command, Vice President Kamala Harris is an obvious candidate as Biden's potential successor. Will she put herself in the running?

Here's everything you need to know about Vice President Harris running for president in 2024:

How do people feel about Harris' vice presidency?

Public opinion of Harris has been low in recent polls leading into the midterms, despite a recent increase in her approval rating. Poll aggregator FiveThirtyEight shows that 50.5 percent of Americans disapprove of Harris, while only 38.4 percent approve. 

Harris' role in the administration's immigration policies has garnered particular scrutiny from Republican critics. Harris took particular heat after she asserted that U.S. borders were secure, and officials in border cities criticized her for not visiting the area. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) targeted Harris' residence as a place to bus migrants in September. On the day he sent the first two buses to Harris's D.C. home, Abbott tweeted, "We will continue sending migrants to sanctuary cities like D.C. until Pres. Biden & Border Czar Harris step up & do their jobs to secure the border." 

Harris hit back at Abbott for displacing the migrants during an interview on NBC's Late Night With Seth Meyers. "They've fled great harm, and they are coming here [to the United States] seeking refuge," Harris said. "And talk about political theater — I mean, playing games with people's lives. … You know, there were mothers with sleeping babies getting off those buses."  At the recent debate between Ohio Senate race candidates Tim Ryan (D) and J.D. Vance (R), Ryan challenged Harris' position on border safety. When asked if he agreed with Harris' statement that the border is secure, Ryan replied "Kamala Harris is absolutely wrong on that." 

Harris appears to be trying to rectify her image as the midterms grow closer. She recently hired a new speech writer, the third person in that position since she took office as VP, Politico reports. Some of her past speeches have been criticized, including one in Guatemala where she told migrants, "do not come." At the beginning of her term, Harris' office struggled to find footing with multiple people stepping down. That rapid turnover included her last speech writer and the vice president's domestic policy adviser Rohini Kosoglu who had worked for Harris since her days in the Senate, Fox News reports. 

Has Harris announced plans to run in 2024?

Harris has not formally announced that she will be running for president in 2024. As the public patiently waits for Biden to decide whether he'll run for re-election, an analyst for The Washington Post put Harris near the top of potential contenders for the Democratic primary if Biden steps aside. 

In an interview for NBC's Meet the Press, Harris said she was "very proud" of her role as vice president under Biden and confirmed that she was committed to pursuing another term for the administration if he decided to run. 

"The president has been very clear that he intends to run again. And if he does, I will be running with him proudly," she said. Biden has signaled that he is planning another run, but hasn't officially launched a formal campaign.

There has been speculation brewing about whether Harris is trying to prepare for the alternative. Harris recently visited Michigan to campaign for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), who is running for re-election. The two appear to be strong allies, but some political commentators believed the campaign previewed a potential matchup between the two for either the 2024 or 2028 presidential elections, per the Los Angeles Times

Has Biden decided to run?

Harris's potential as a contender for 2024 relies heavily on whether Biden decides to run. Biden has not made an official declaration that he will run for re-election, but he has shared that he does intend to run again.

During an interview with CBS News' 60 Minutes in September, Biden said it was too early for him to make an official announcement due to the responsibilities surrounding that decision. He clarified that his statements of his intention do not guarantee he will. That choice is still up in the air. 

"Look, my intention, as I said to begin with, is that I would run again," Biden said. "But it's just an intention. But is it a firm decision that I run again? That remains to be seen."

How do voters feel about Harris on the ballot if Biden chooses not to run?

Democratic aides and strategists have been speculating about Harris' chances for 2024. Some believe that backing Harris would be a mistake, as she would be too weak to keep more formidable opponents at bay. They point to the growing list of other potential contenders for the Democratic primary making small waves in the polls. Many strategists also believe she wouldn't have much of a chance against potential Republican candidates like Trump or Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). 

Poll results show that these strategists might be misinterpreting the potential support Harris has among Democrat voters. Voters appear to be weighing their options for a Biden-less 2024 primary, and poll data is actually promising for Harris as the next candidate for the Democrats. A September Morning Consult/Politico poll found Harris in the lead of potential presidential candidates if Biden did not run, with 28 percent of likely voters preferring her on the ballot. The poll also revealed that more voters believe Biden should run for re-election, increasing from 51 percent to 59 percent in the latest poll. 

Close Biden ally former Connecticut Sen. Chris J. Dodd praised the job Harris has done so far as vice president while predicting a potential place for her on the 2024 ballot, per The New York Times. "I'm hoping the president runs for re-election," Dodd said, "but for whatever reason that might not be the case, it's hard to believe there would be a short list without Kamala's name on it. She's the vice president of the United States."

The October Harvard CAPS/Harris poll also paints a hopeful picture for Harris if the 2024 election is up for grabs. Among the voters surveyed, Harris leads the group of potential candidates for the 2024 election if Biden does not run, with 25 percent. In a hypothetical situation where Biden was running against others in the Democratic primary, he beats Harris, with 37 percent compared to her 13 percent.

The Morning Consult/Politico survey was conducted Sept. 23-25 among 751 Democratic registered voters, with unweighted margins of error of +/-4 percentage points. The Harvard CAPS/Harris surveyed 2010 registered voters online between Oct. 11 and Oct. 15.

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