Vice President Kamala Harris is convening nine Democratic governors at her home in Washington, DC, on Saturday for a meeting about the 2024 campaign, several people involved with the event told CNN.
This will be the latest gut check for President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign, which has been facing questions internally and externally about its operations and outreach, and is the midst of a reorganization as two top political aides depart the White House to spend more time at the Wilmington headquarters.
Harris asked her staff to put together the session several weeks ago, with the aim of coordinating messaging, but also to get a more direct account of what the governors are seeing and hearing in their states – many of which are in the main battlegrounds that the Biden campaign has identified going into November.
And although those involved says this is fully about 2024 and getting unified, there will be an air of 2028 politics at the Naval Observatory on Saturday since several of the invitees are expected to be running against each other – and against Harris – before long.
On the invitation list: Govs. Andy Beshear of Kentucky, Tim Walz of Minnesota, J.B. Pritzker of Illinois, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Tony Evers of Wisconsin, Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania, Roy Cooper of North Carolina, Wes Moore of Maryland and Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico.
Though invitations went out weeks ago, several have still not confirmed whether they will be coming with just days to go.
A spokesperson for the vice president declined to comment on the meeting.
The session comes in the middle of harried weeks for a number of the governors, between legislative sessions, budgets negotiations and state of the state addresses. Several of them greeted the invitation with grumbles, frustrated with having to add a trip to Washington to their schedules – even as many say they are looking forward to the chance to give what they see as much needed feedback to the Biden campaign.
“It seems like a legitimately good opportunity to hear from governors in key swing states about what’s working well from the campaign and what’s not,” a person who works with one of the governors told CNN.
“Democratic Governors are getting popular, commonsense stuff done in their states every single day,” said another person who works for another of the governors invited. “It’s natural the vice president would want to get together to discuss the issues on the ground and the need to deliver results and a clear message.”
Biden campaign aides have been feeling somewhat better in recent days, especially following his blow-out win in the South Carolina primary last weekend. On Wednesday, ahead of Harris’ meeting with House Democrats at their annual policy retreat, South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn pointed to results in his state as he scolded reporters who he said have been too negative about the president.
“I know that most of these headlines come from those people who are pretty proficient at tweeting and whatever else you do, but voters show up for Joe Biden,” Clyburn said.
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