Politics

Don't count Biden out in 2020 presidential race — Democratic megadonor looks past Iowa

Key Points
  • It's too early to write off former Vice President Joe Biden's White House bid, Democratic megadonor Alan Patricof told CNBC.
  • Biden trails ex-Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in the Iowa caucuses.
  • "After South Carolina, then this discussion will change if he doesn't show a dramatic change," said the tech investor, who has endorsed Biden.
  • Patricof suggested he could also support billionaire ex-Mayor Michael Bloomberg's candidacy if Biden were to falter.
VIDEO1:3601:36
It is too early to count out Joe Biden, Democratic donor Alan Patricof says

It's too early to write off former Vice President Joe Biden's White House bid despite a likely fourth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, Democratic megadonor and tech investor Alan Patricof told CNBC on Wednesday.

Biden trails ex-Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in Iowa state delegate equivalents with 71% of precincts reporting. A tech glitch delayed the results of the first-in-the-nation nominating contest, which was held on Monday night.

"I think that Joe never expected to really win Iowa. I'm sure he expected to do better," said Patricof, the wealthy founder of venture capital giant Greycroft. He endorsed Biden back in September.

Biden, who unsuccessfully ran for president twice before, hopes for strong showings the Nevada caucuses, on Feb. 22, and the South Carolina primary, on Feb. 29. He leads the pack in those states.

However, the former vice president is polling well behind Sanders in New Hampshire ahead of Tuesday's primary.

"After South Carolina, then this discussion will change if [Biden] he doesn't show a dramatic change," said Patricof. "But I think he's still very much in the race. Don't discount him."

Patricof said he was in Iowa about two weeks ago, knocking on doors in support of Biden. He said his takeaway at the time was that many voters were undecided.

Biden's campaign recently tried to reassure top donors that the candidate was still in a position to win in Nevada and South Carolina, states with significantly more diverse electorates than Iowa and New Hampshire.

Patricof said he remains in Biden's camp, but suggested he could eventually support former New York City Mayor and billionaire businessman Mike Bloomberg if Biden were no longer be a formidable candidate.

"You could probably guess who my No. 2 would be," Patricof said, never mentioning Bloomberg by name but saying he liked the letter "B."

But Patricof stressed that he thinks Biden still "has a good chance of pulling this out."

Patricof and his wife, Susan, bundled at least $100,000 for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential run, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. He also helped raise money for Democrats during their successful effort to gain a majority in the House of Representatives during the 2018 midterm elections.

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