If President Joe Biden does not seek reelection, Indian American lawmaker could make a bid in 2024
After six years in the US House, Ro Khanna, Indian American Democratic lawmaker from Silicon Valley is looking at the Senate, but his allies are talking about a White House run, according to a media report.
Son of immigrant parents from Punjab, India, Khanna said on Wednesday that he would “definitely” not run for the White House if President Joe Biden seeks reelection in 2024, Politico reported.
Read: Ro Khanna renews calls for term limit for Supreme Court justices (December 27, 2022)
He is weighing a Senate bid in California, Khanna said. But recent moves have sparked a new round of speculation among Democrats in several key states that the California congressman continues to have his eye on a higher office, according to Politico.
Khanna has retained consultants who are veterans of New Hampshire’s primary and Nevada’s, the influential political new site said. He paid one Iowa firm as well, before the Democratic National Committee made plans to revoke the state’s first-in-the-nation status.
Politico cited people close to Khanna as saying he’s keeping his options open ahead of a potential presidential run in 2028 or beyond. But others in his orbit are talking about an even more compressed timeline: running in 2024 if President Joe Biden decided not to.
Khanna, for his part, denied in an interview with Politico that he would go for the White House should Biden ultimately forgo a reelection bid, saying “I’ll rule that out definitively.”
He has also said he would support Biden if he were to run. More immediately, he has begun talking openly about a possible run for the Senate as his next step, as other California Democrats formally and informally announce their own bids, Politico said.
Read: Will Ro Khanna run for Feinstein’s seat? (December 5, 2022)
“There are a lot of Bernie [Sanders] supporters and progressives who have reached out to me to encourage me to look at the race and what I’ve told them is I will do so over the next few months,” Khanna told Politico of a Senate bid.
But despite his protestations otherwise, some consultants whose firms have worked with the congressman in early primary states say they have a different impression about the extent of his political ambitions, the news site said.
Politico has previously reported on Khanna making preparations for a future presidential run. The congressman has said his semi-regular travels to key presidential states help him commandeer a media spotlight on the issues he wants to discuss.
“But his moves evince the national ambitions of a politician who finds himself at a political crossroads,” Politico said. “And what stands out now is that those with ties to him are openly floating the congressman as a potential contender if Biden doesn’t run even as other Democrats with higher ambitions have fallen in line following the midterm elections.”
Khanna is seen as one of the leaders of his party’s progressive wing — a relative newcomer on the scene who has broad appeal and formidable skills, it said.
At 46, he is comfortable in liberal circles, Silicon Valley boardrooms and even Fox News, where he is ensconced as a regular. He has traveled the country campaigning in blue and red states alike on “economic patriotism.”
Khanna has also shown a willingness to take on members of his own party, including potential Democratic primary rivals like Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg, Politico noted.
Read: Ro Khanna’s 4 point economic plan to build on Democratic gains (November 15, 2022)
Khanna denied that his recent criticism of the Department of Transportation was done with an eye on politics, but didn’t close the door to a White House run in 2028.
“We need to have a message of new economic patriotism that brings a production renaissance in America,” he was quoted as saying. “I believe that the message I’m articulating is the message that the Democratic Party should adopt post-President Biden’s eight years.”
Read: House passes Ro Khanna’s sanctions waiver for India (July 15, 2022)