By Gabriella Borter
(Reuters) – Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden plans to make a widely expected announcement of his candidacy for the presidency in a video on Wednesday, the Atlantic reported on Friday, citing sources close to Biden’s top aides.
The announcement will follow months of speculation over whether Biden, a Democratic party stalwart and an early leader in opinion polls, would launch a bid for his party’s nomination to challenge President Donald Trump in 2020.
The announcement video will include footage shot two weeks ago outside the house where Biden grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the Atlantic reported. Biden’s roots in the faded industrial town of about 77,000 people have fueled his appeal among U.S. working class voters.
Biden served 36 years in the U.S. Senate representing Delaware and eight years as vice president under former President Barack Obama. At 76, he will become the second oldest candidate in the Democratic primary after Senator Bernie Sanders, who is 77.
His announcement would bring the field of Democratic presidential hopefuls to 19. Political observers in recent weeks have wondered if Biden delayed his decision due to recent allegations from women that Biden made them feel uncomfortable when he touched them at political events in the past.
Biden responded to the allegations earlier this month by saying he believed he never acted inappropriately during his many years in public life.
“I will be much more mindful, and that’s my responsibility,” Biden said in a video posted on social media. “I’ve worked my whole life to empower women. I’ve worked my whole life to prevent abuse.”
In the days after four women came forward with allegations, sources close to Biden told Reuters that campaign preparations had not been slowed by the controversy.
NBC News cited multiple officials as saying Biden’s advisers are finalizing plans for the campaign launch this coming week.
(Reporting by Gabriella Borter; Editing by David Gregorio)