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Meet 5 Democrats who have been floated as possible Biden replacements

The scrutiny aimed at President Biden following the damaging report released last week by Special Counsel Robert Hur has breathed new life into the belief Democrats will ultimately replace him as the party’s nominee ahead of the 2024 general election.

In building his argument for why no charges were recommended following an investigation into Biden’s mishandling of classified documents, Hur detailed in part that Biden’s defense of any potential charges could possibly be that, “Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

The report cited examples when investigators said the president’s memory lapsed, including over when his older son Beau had died, and caused a heightened level of concern among Democrats who previously backed the president despite Republican attacks on his ability to serve.

Here are five of the top names being mentioned as potential replacements for Biden should he decide — or is pressured — not to run for a second term:

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Democrat presidential possibilities

From left to right: California Gov. Gavin Newsom, former First Lady Michelle Obama, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, and Vice President Kamala Harris. (Getty Images)

1. California Gov. Gavin Newsom

Newsom has, perhaps, been the most often mentioned name as a potential presidential nominee given his outspoken criticism of national Republican figures, as well as his high-profile clash with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at a debate hosted by Fox News last year.

Democrat strategists and members of the media continually mention him as a future presidential hopeful, but that future could come sooner rather than later should Biden’s plans change.

Douglas Schoen, a former advisor to President Clinton, wrote in an op-ed last summer that Newsom “wants to run for president in 2024,” but was backing Biden for re-election to garner support for himself.

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“Gavin Newsom wants to run for president in 2024, that much is clear. The California governor would not be campaigning for President Joe Biden in red states with 16 months until the presidential election if he wasn’t trying to prove his own political bona fides and build a future base of national support for himself,” he wrote.

Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom

Governor Gavin Newsom is seen at Moffett Federal Airfield of NASA Ames Research Center before U.S. President Biden’s arrival in Mountain View, California, United States on June 19, 2023. (Getty Images)

2. Vice President Kamala Harris

Harris’ presidential ambitions have been known since her first unsuccessful run for the White House in 2020, when she failed to gain support over her Democrat primary opponents, including Biden.

Despite her low approval rating and frequent gaffes as vice president, she continues to insist she’s “ready to serve” as commander-in-chief if necessary.

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Media figures have also mentioned her as a potential replacement for Biden, including the hosts of ABC’s daytime gabfest, “The View,” who suggested she could be a better nominee than Biden following the Hur report.

“Why not the vice president? Why wouldn’t Democrats put up the vice president?” one host said.

Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden

President Joe Biden signs an executive order with US Vice President Kamala Harris during an event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on Monday, Oct. 30, 2023. (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

3. Former First Lady Michelle Obama

Obama has been one of the more surprising names floated as a potential replacement for Biden, considering her lack of political experience, although the same could have been said for former President Donald Trump during his first White House run.

Former Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, one of the first to float the theory that Obama would replace Biden, doubled down following the release of the Hur report. He has been joined by other media figures and former officials.

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“The main obstacle stopping the Democratic Party is they have a Kamala Harris problem, which is to say that if they do sideline Biden, the natural person normally that would be the nominee, could be the vice president of that same sitting president. But that vice president is unable, I think, to effectively carry forward that job,” Ramaswamy told Fox News Digital. 

“If race and gender are your basis for selecting someone for a job, and the identity of your party is tied to that temple of identity politics, then they will risk looking hypocritical if they sideline her after they sideline Biden. And I do think Michelle Obama offers them a convenient path out of that problem,” he added.

Michelle Obama

Former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama attends Opening Night celebrating ’50 years of equal pay’ during Day One of the 2023 US Open at Arthur Ashe Stadium at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 28, 2023. ((Photo by Jean Catuffe/GC Images))

4. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

Despite declining a run for the White House this year, Whitmer appeared to leave the door open for a future presidential run after her convincing re-election win during the 2022 midterm elections, a year that was expected to be a difficult one for Democrats.

Whitmer first gained popularity during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, which later turned into a sharp divide over how she handled lockdowns in her state. Nonetheless, it put her on the charts as a national player in Democrat politics.

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In Nov., “Real Time” host Bill Maher took a swipe at Whitmer, accusing her of running a “shadow campaign” for president during an interview with Biden primary challenger Dean Phillips, but did not say what made him believe that.

Phillips told Maher that before he decided to run for president against Biden, he unsuccessfully tried to recruit Whitmer, saying she would make an “outstanding president.”

Gretchen Whitmer

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer waits to speak at a canvass kickoff on Michigan Primary Election Day on August 2, 2022 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Today’s Midterm Primary Election will determine which one of five Michigan republican gubernatorial candidates will run against Governor Whitmer, a democrat, in the upcoming November Midterm General Election. (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

5. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear

Beshear has been seen as a rising star within the party given his status as one of the most popular governors in the country, despite being a Democrat leading a red state. That status grew following a big re-election win last year over then-Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who was considered a rising GOP star.

Multiple former officials and people familiar with Beshear’s rise told Fox News Digital following his election victory last year that he would be someone to watch as a national political player for Democrats, and didn’t rule out any future aspirations.

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Those sources cited Beshear’s ability to connect across party lines and bring Republicans and Democrats into his policy fold as something the nation was looking for amid a staunch political divide.

Media outlets across the country also sang Beshear’s praises following his victory, suggesting his future was bright.

Democratic Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear

Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear is seen here answering questions during an interview, Dec. 19, 2023, in Frankfort, Ky. On Jan. 18, 2024, he censured Kentucky House Republicans’ spending plan. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)

Fox News’ Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

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