By Greg Bluestein
Stacey Abrams met Thursday with former Vice President Joe Biden in Washington to discuss her next political step -- and presumably his, too. The sit-down between the Democrats came as each are weighing 2020 bids that could intersect.
Biden would become one of the leading candidates for president if he enters the race, while Abrams is weighing a bid for U.S. Senate, a rematch for governor -- and has raised the possibility of her own White House bid.
The meeting brought together two candidates representing sharply contrasting approaches and ideologies.
The 76-year-old Biden is a veteran Washington lawmaker and well-connected politico comfortable in the party's establishment. Abrams, 45, is an unapologetic liberal with little national experience and a soaring profile that heightened even after her defeat.
The news of the meeting triggered a wave of speculation that their political fortunes could intertwine next year. Biden, who is nearing his decision to run for president, would seem likely to select a running mate who brings gender, geographic and racial balance to the ticket.
It's the latest in a string of meetings between Abrams and White House contenders. She's huddled with Sen. Cory Booker in Newark, grabbed lunch with Sen. Kamala Harris in Washington and dined with Sen. Elizabeth Warren in Atlanta. Before her Biden meeting on Thursday, she had breakfast with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
Like other high-profile Democrats, Biden endorsed Abrams during last year's run for governor, and scheduled a trip to campaign with her in Georgia before later canceling it.
Abrams' narrow November loss to Gov. Brian Kemp has only burnished her political celebrity, and she's set an April deadline to decide whether to challenge Sen. David Perdue next year, prepare for a 2022 rematch against Kemp or take another step.
She's long wanted to be Georgia governor, but she's being heavily recruited by Senate Democrats to run against Perdue, a first-term Republican with deep ties to President Donald Trump.
More recently, some of her allies say her thinking has expanded to include positioning herself as a potential vice presidential running-mate, something that wouldn't be open to her if she was running for U.S. Senate. If that doesn't come through, then she would presumably prep to run for governor in 2022.
As for a presidential bid, she hasn't begun the process of lining up endorsements, hiring droves of operatives and launching flirtation tours in early-voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire. But neither has Beto O'Rourke, the former Texas congressman who on Thursday announced his White House bid.
Abrams has little incentive to rule out any of her options -- White House, Senate or governor -- too early. She's in the middle of a nationwide tour to promote her book and the intrigue helps heighten attention.
She told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution this week that she's "in a privileged opportunity to make a difference" but that she's looking for the best chance to make a concrete difference.
"I am going to run for something. And I will tell you in April. But everything is on the table. I'm not being coy," she said. "This is hard. When you spend two years focusing on one thing it's not easy to turn to something else."
(c)2019 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)