WASHINGTON, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., is said to be considering a campaign to replace President Barack Obama when he leaves office -- a move that would quickly make him one of the top Democratic frontrunners in 2016.
The executive branch's second-in-command and Senate president has previously said he will make a final decision by the end of the summer. If he enters the race, it would be Biden's third attempt at the White House.
Sources close to the vice president or his aides have reportedly said talk of a 2016 run is intensifying in the Biden camp. For example, they say advisers have begun to reach out to prominent Democratic supporters who have not yet committed to Hillary Clinton, The New York Times reported Saturday.
"He was so close to Beau and it was so heartbreaking that, frankly, I thought initially he wouldn't have the heart [to run]," supporter Michael Thornton said. "But I have had indications that maybe he does want to -- and [perhaps Biden believes] that is what Beau would've wanted."
Biden has run for the presidency twice before -- in 1988 and 2008, ultimately losing the Democratic nomination to Michael Dukakis and Obama, respectively. This time, though, it doesn't appear that his path would be any easier.
A campaign would almost assuredly place Biden at the top of a hotly contested race with present frontrunner Hillary Clinton -- a Democrat with substantial support and more youth. Biden would be 74 years old upon entering the White House, if he got elected.
"The reality is it's going to be a tough, even-steven kind of race, and there's that moment when a lot of party establishment would start exactly this kind of rumble, 'Is there anybody else?' " Democratic strategist Joe Trippi said in the Times report.
Despite Clinton's favorable lead in the Democratic race, some analysts believe party leaders and voters could easily switch their allegiance to Biden.
"It's not that we dislike Hillary. It's that we want to win the White House," South Carolina Democratic supporter Richard A. Harpootlian said. "We have a better chance of doing that with somebody who is not going to have all the distractions of a Clinton campaign."