Biden advisers quietly lining up campaign team, endorsements ahead of likely 2020 bid

Former Vice President Joe Biden says he’s “in the final stages” of deciding on a 2020 White House run.

But Biden – who would instantly become the front-runner among roughly 15 contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination – explained last week during an event in his home state of Delaware that he didn’t want a third presidential bid to be “a fool’s errand.”

BIDEN TEAM HIRES VETERAN OPERATIVE

He emphasized that “I have to make sure that I could run a first-rate effort.”

And that’s exactly what his top political advisers are quietly working on behind the scenes, ahead of what may be an April presidential campaign launch.

Sources familiar with the planning of Biden’s inner circle confirm to Fox News that top advisers to the former vice president are getting their ducks in a row, figuring out a campaign structure and reaching out to veteran Democratic operatives who could potentially be involved.

“He would want to check a box on a few things … that he would want to be in place,” said a person close to the Biden world who asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely.

The source added that top Biden advisers have been reaching out to leading Democratic officials, ahead of what’s likely to be the launch of a presidential campaign.

BIDEN ALMOST CERTAIN TO RUN, SOURCES SAY

News of the developments was first reported early Thursday in a wide-ranging story by the New York Times.

Also in the works, according to a separate source, is an endorsement by the politically powerful International Association of Fire Fighters.

The IAFF, which represents more than 300,000 workers, has had a long and friendly relationship with Biden, dating back to his years in the Senate. And the union’s longtime general president Harold Schaitberger has been very vocal about his desire to see Biden run for the White House again.

“There’s a lot of depth to the Biden-firefighter relationship,” the source said.

Next week, the former vice president is scheduled to deliver the keynote address to the IAFF’s convention in Washington.

Biden, thanks in part to his years in the public eye and strong name recognition, consistently stands at the top of most public opinion surveys in the race for the Democratic nomination.

The senator from Delaware ran unsuccessfully for the White House in 1988 and again in 2008. As vice president, he mulled a 2016 presidential bid, but decided to defer to Hillary Clinton as he dealt with the pain of the death of his son Beau.

If Biden jumps into the 2020 race, he would join a field that currently stands at 14 declared candidates or contenders who have launched presidential exploratory committees.

Among the higher-profile contenders are Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Kamala Harris of California, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Kirsten Gillibrand of New  York.

Former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who served as Housing and Urban Development secretary under President Barack Obama, is also running, as are Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

And in the past few days, Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper launched campaigns.

A number of other Democrats appear to be moving toward White House bids, including former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado and Rep. Eric Swalwell of California.