Former Vice President Joe Biden will serve as the keynote speaker this spring at the annual Mansfield-Metcalf Dinner, the Montana Democratic Party said on Thursday.
The announcement comes amid speculation that Biden will run for president in 2020. The former VP under President Barack Obama has not ruled it out, though he opted not to run in 2016.
Still, Biden’s attendance at the Montana Democratic Party’s annual fundraiser drew excitement among the faithful, who are looking to pick up seats both in Montana and in Washington, D.C., this year.
“We’re proud to have Vice President Biden join us to kick off what will be an exciting election year for Democrats here in Big Sky Country,” said Nancy Keenan, executive director of the state party. “He knows what Montanans know – that Jon (Tester) is a relentless fighter for Montana who has a proven record of getting things done for working families.”
Up for reelection, Tester – a Big Sandy farmer and the state’s senior senator – is expected to face a costly and contentious race this November, with a field of Republicans looking to take his seat.
This week, Tester named Chris Meagher to serve as his campaign’s communications director and Monica Robinson to serve as the deputy press secretary.
“Vice President Biden has worked his entire career defending working families,” Tester said Thursday in a statement. “I’m looking forward to hosting him in Montana, and showing him the enthusiasm and excitement that continues to grow in our state as we head into 2018.”
Since leaving the White House last January, Biden launched American Possibilities to support Democratic candidates and causes. A recent Quinnipiac poll found that more Americans would vote for Biden than Trump if the two squared off in the 2020 election.
One running media list of contenders placed Biden second among preferred presidential candidates, just behind Bernie Sanders, who has stopped in Missoula twice in recent years, one during his run for the Democratic Party nomination and the second to back failed congressional candidate Rob Quist.
“Just like Montana’s own Senator Jon Tester, Vice President Joe Biden has never stopped fighting for working families and he has never forgotten where he came from,” Keenan said.
The 40th annual Mansfield-Metcalf Dinner will be held at the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds in Helena on Saturday, March 10. Ticket information is not yet available.