Sen. Chris Coons says he's "confident" Joe Biden will run in 2020

Sen. Coons "confident" Biden will run in 2020

Delaware Sen. Chris Coons says that he's "confident" and "optimistic" that former Vice President Joe Biden is going to run for president in the 2020 election. The Democrat's comments on Biden's rumored run come as new polling revealed that the former vice president now leads among 2020 democratic candidates in Iowa without even making his campaign official. 

"He is moving closer, he's someone who I am confident is going to run, I'm optimistic he's going to run, everything is being put in place but that last decision, which you know understandably is a big decision," Coons told "CBS This Morning" on Monday. 

Coons, who took over Biden's vacated seat in the Senate after he joined the Obama administration, said he thought Biden's run would be a "simple and positive message." He said Biden's approach would counter President Trump's pattern of seeing "divisions in our country and he cracks them open, he exploits them for his own personal and partisan advantage."

"Joe Biden is someone who sees the differences in our country and inspires us, reminds us of the ways in which we have overcome them in the past and will lift us up," Coons said.

According to multiple people familiar with his planning, a formal kickoff for Biden's run is expected by mid-April. He previously told "CBS This Morning" co-anchor Norah O'Donnell that his potential run would be based on "very private decisions relating to my family and the loss of my son and what I want to do with the rest of my life" and not in terms of "can I win, can I – will I lose."

Coons said that Biden would be instrumental in reaching out to states like Pennsylvania and Michigan which Democrats lost in 2016 by speaking to middle America. He said Biden connects with "average Americans" and will "figure out a way to lead us forward."

Asked whether Biden's entry into the already jam-packed Democratic field would be too much for the 76-year-old, Coons, without naming him directly, suggested that potential challenger Sen. Bernie Sanders has less experience than Biden. 

"I've heard that argument but frankly, there's another person his age who is getting tens of thousands of young excited people in the last campaign, he has more experience both in the Senate and as vice president in the executive and legislative than any other candidate running, arguably than all other candidates combined and we don't need someone who's doing on-the-job training," said Coons.

Biden previously said that his age would be a "legitimate issue" if he were to run in 2020. Mr. Trump is three years younger than him. 

"I think people are going to judge it, if I were to run. I think they're gonna judge me on my vitality. Can I still run up the steps of Air Force Two? Am I still in good shape? Am I – do I have all my faculties? Am I energetic? I think it's totally legitimate people ask those questions," Biden said.

  • Emily Tillett

    Emily Tillett is a politics reporter and video editor for CBS News Digital