Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna, who said he is weighing a Senate bid in California, may be looking for a potential presidential run in 2024, according to his Democrat allies.
After six years in the US House, Khanna, 46, said he would not run for the White House if President Joe Biden seeks re-election in 2024, the Politico reported.
The report said that Khanna’s recent moves have sparked speculation among Democrats in several key states that the congressman has his eyes set on a higher office.
The Silicon Valley lawmaker has retained consultants who are veterans of New Hampshire’s primary and Nevada’s.
He also paid an Iowa firm, before the Democratic National Committee made plans to revoke the state’s first-in-the-nation status, according to the news site.
Mark Longabaugh, a Democratic strategist whose firm did media consulting for Khanna last year, told Politico that he thinks Khanna “would be a great US Senator”.
Longabaugh, however added, that in case Biden decides not to re-run, Khanna would be a very “plausible” candidate.
Asserting that he would support Biden if he were to run, Khanna denied that he would go for the White House should Biden ultimately forgo a re-election bid.
“I’ll rule that out definitively,” he had told Politico in an earlier interview.
While talking about his Senate bid, Khanna said: “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.”
“If President Biden didn’t seek re-election, his name would have to be on the list of top contenders,” Stacey Walker, founder of the Iowa-based firm Sage Strategies, which Khanna paid $8,000 last year, told Politico.
Further, Khanna’s donations prove that he is bolstering his bid to be in the presidential race.
According to Politico, he paid $22,000 last year to Sanders’ former New Hampshire state director, Shannon Jackson; $25,000 to the Sanders-founded progressive group Our Revolution for digital advertising; and $8,000 each to political firms in Nevada and Iowa.
Khanna — son of immigrant parents from Punjab — is seen as one of the leaders of his party’s progressive wing, and a relative newcomer on the scene who has broad appeal and formidable skills.
On US-India relations, he said earlier this month that the relationship between the two democracies could define the 21st century.
Khanna had said in November 2022 that the US needs a strong defence and strategic partnership with India, especially in the face of escalating aggression from China.
In September last year, he had introduced a standalone bill in the US House of Representatives seeking a waiver to India against the punitive CAATSA sanctions.