With a growing field of presidential candidates, uneasiness about the coronation of Hillary Clinton in 2016 and the possibility that Stacey Abrams could enter the contest, Georgia Democratic leaders and rank-and-file party members are mostly staying neutral.
A recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution survey found that hardly any state elected officials have picked sides in the 2020 race, and Georgia's top tier of Democratic figures is holding back. The same goes with the grassroots leaders that help shape the party's direction from the local level.
The AJC reached out to more than 60 Democratic leaders at the county level and found the broad majority are in wait-and-see mode. Only one of the dozens of county chairmen who responded to the AJC's requests had decided on a candidate.
Cleland, also a former Georgia secretary of state, predicts Biden’s entrance could change the dynamic.
“It’s been a wonderful experience to get to know Joe,” said Cleland, “and it will definitely put a gloss on the Democratic field and attract people who have heretofore not been involved.”