Whitmer Takes Key Role With Biden’s New 2024 Presidential Campaign

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer introduces then Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden to speak at Beech Woods Recreation Center in Southfield, Michigan, on October 16, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

By Kyle Kaminski

April 25, 2023

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was named as a campaign co-chairperson for President Joe Biden’s 2024 re-election campaign this week—but what exactly is a campaign co-chairperson? And what will she be doing to help?

MICHIGAN—President Joe Biden this week announced plans for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to play a prominent role in his re-election campaign as he gears up for the 2024 general election.

In addition to formally announcing his plans on Tuesday morning to seek a second term, Biden also unveiled the new members of his campaign staff, as well as the seven people—including Whitmer—who will serve as the volunteer co-chairpeople of his national re-election campaign.

“When I ran for President four years ago, I said we are in a battle for the soul of America—and we still are. The question we are facing is whether in the years ahead we have more freedom or less freedom, more rights or fewer,” Biden said in the announcement. “I know what I want the answer to be. This is not a time to be complacent. That’s why I’m running for reelection.”

What’s the Job?

Campaign chairpeople (especially for presidential candidates) are usually volunteer positions, and the role varies widely depending on the strategy of any given political campaign. Members typically help raise funds for their candidate, facilitate speakers for various campaign events, and help with distributing promotional information—and garnering support—for the candidate. 

Unlike paid campaign managers, a chairperson isn’t usually involved with the day-to-day operations of the campaign, but rather only offers high-level strategy advice and feedback. For presidential campaigns, they usually include recognizable (and popular) political leaders—particularly those who aren’t up for re-election at the same time as the campaign.

Who else is on the Committee?

Whitmer is the only sitting governor to be picked for the committee. The other six members are US Reps. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Delaware), Jim Clyburn (D-South Carolina), and Veronica Escobar (D-Texas); US Sens. Chris Coons (D-Connecticut) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois).

Former Walt Disney Studios Chairman and CEO of Dreamworks Animation Jeffrey Katzenberg, a top fundraiser for the national Democratic Party, was also selected as a campaign co-chair. 

Blunt is the only carryover from Biden’s 2020 committee—which then also featured Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, US Sen. Chris Dodd, and former White House lawyer Cynthia Hogan.

A Repeat of 2020?

Biden’s re-election plans could ultimately signal the start of a repeat of 2020—as former President Donald Trump appears to be the most likely challenger for the president in 2024, and Biden has already demonstrated the ability to defeat him by more than 7 million votes. 

This week’s campaign announcement arrived in the form of a three-minute video that centered around the word “freedom” and laid out how his administration has worked to expand basic human rights for Americans while “MAGA Republicans” have actively worked to chip them away.

“I know America and I know we are good and decent people,” Biden said in this week’s announcement. “I know we are still a country that believes in honesty and respect, and treating each other with dignity. We’re a nation where we give hate no safe harbor. We believe that everyone is equal, and that everyone should be given a fair shot to succeed in this country.”

Biden’s announcement was widely expected, as the president had said that he would run again multiple times in the past several weeks. On a recent trip to Ireland, Biden told reporters that he would announce his re-election campaign “relatively soon.” Several days earlier, Today Show host Al Roker asked the president directly during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, to which Biden responded: “I’m planning on running, Al, but we’re not prepared to announce it yet.”

So far, there is no sign of a competitive Democratic primary for Biden. The only other candidates who have announced their runs for 2024 are self-help author Marianne Williamson, and anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., neither of whom have large bases of support. 

Americans might be looking at a repeat of the 2020 election come fall 2024. Trump launched his campaign in November of last year and has remained atop the polls ever since, despite—or perhaps because of—mounting legal troubles: Trump has been charged with 34 felony counts of falsification of business records in the first degree. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. 

Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes said that Democrats across Michigan—including fundraisers—are “ready and excited” to again rally behind Biden.

“President Biden has been the most effective president in decades. He has delivered for Michiganders and people all across the nation,” she said in a statement. “From creating hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs, to investing billions of dollars in Michigan infrastructure, to shepherding through common sense gun safety legislation, and bringing America to the other side of a global pandemic, Biden has delivered time and time again.”

Restoring the ‘Soul of America’

Biden’s 2020 campaign promised to “restore the soul of America” after four years of Trump-induced chaos—and he has since racked up a long list of accomplishments.

So far in his first term, Biden oversaw a nationwide vaccination campaign, and led a strong economic recovery from the pandemic. More than 12 million jobs have been created, unemployment is at a 54-year low, and labor force participation is back to pre-pandemic levels.

After Russia launched its brutal invasion of Ukraine, Biden also marshaled together much of the world to oppose the war on the foreign policy front—building a strong base of support for Ukraine and providing aid and weapons to help them beat back Russia’s horrifying attacks. 

Biden has also achieved some remarkable legislative victories that collectively represent the largest investments in America in generations. Here are some of those accomplishments:

In 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill designed to help the US recover from the enormous economic and health effects of the pandemic. The plan included $1,400 direct stimulus payments to a large swath of Americans, extended unemployment compensation, continued eviction and foreclosure moratoriums, and made investments in child care and small businesses. It also increased the Child Tax Credit, which granted taxpayers with children under the age of 17 a fully refundable $2,000 tax benefit. 

President Biden also signed the The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which made a historic investment in infrastructure by providing $550 billion for roads, bridges, broadband, public transportation, safe drinking water, and much more across the US—including Michigan.

Last summer, President Biden also signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law, extending generous subsidies that make Affordable Care Act health insurance plans more affordable. Those subsidies (introduced as part of Biden’s American Rescue Plan in 2021) were set to expire at the end of 2022, but the Inflation Reduction Act extended them through 2025. 

The law prevented an estimated 3 million Americans from losing their insurance and saved 10.4 million more enrollees from paying more for their insurance plans. The act also reformed Medicare to lower drug costs for tens of millions of seniors with Medicare Part D coverage, which covers prescription drugs, and implemented a $35 monthly co-pay cap on insulin.

The Inflation Reduction Act also represents the largest-ever national investment in fighting climate change, and is predicted to help create up to 9 million jobs over the next decade while reducing premature deaths from air pollution and dramatically reducing carbon emissions.

Also last summer, Biden announced an executive order to cancel up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt for tens of millions of borrowers and make systemic changes to ensure future repayment terms are far more fair for low- and middle-income borrowers. The order has received pushback from GOP leaders and is the subject of numerous lawsuits, which have made their way to the Supreme Court. A ruling is expected to be issued by the end of June

The Biden administration also led the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which enhances background checks for gun buyers under the age of 21 and requires law enforcement authorities to have time to examine juvenile records—including mental health records— starting at age 16. The law also represents the nation’s largest investment in mental healthcare, funding more community behavioral health clinics, new mental health counselors in schools, and more.

Author

  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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