Clyburn Suggests ‘Mini-Primary’ If Biden Exits Race

Rep. Jim Clyburn, a key ally of President Joe Biden, indicated on Wednesday that a “mini-primary” might occur if Biden withdraws from the 2024 presidential race. This potential primary would see Vice President Kamala Harris and several Democratic governors competing for the nomination before the Democratic National Convention.

In an interview with CNN, Clyburn addressed whether Harris would automatically become the nominee or if a primary would be necessary. “Well, I think we’re going to have a mini-primary leading into the convention,” Clyburn stated. “You can actually fashion the process that’s already in place to make it a mini-primary, and I would support that absolutely. We can’t close that down, and we should open up everything for the general election.”

Following his interview, a spokesperson for Clyburn clarified to Politico that he was responding to a hypothetical scenario and not advocating for a mini-primary. “It is quite obvious that Congressman Clyburn was responding to a hypothetical question,” said spokesperson Brianna Frias. “He was not calling for a ‘mini-primary.’ Instead, he was explaining the existing process. The Congressman fully supports President Biden at the top of the ticket and it would be irresponsible to report anything otherwise.”

Clyburn’s comments come amid ongoing speculation about Biden’s potential withdrawal from the race. Many question who would step up as the nominee if Biden were to exit, considering Harris’s poll numbers have sometimes been worse than Biden’s. This uncertainty raises concerns about the stability of the Democratic ticket.

Clyburn, a crucial supporter of Biden’s 2020 campaign, acknowledged concerns about Biden’s recent debate performance, calling it “concerning.” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre addressed these worries, noting that Biden himself has admitted to feeling the effects of aging. “We get what Americans are feeling. That’s why [Biden is] acknowledging he’s not a young man, that’s why he’s acknowledging he’s a little slower than he used to be in walking and not as smooth in speaking,” Jean-Pierre said.