Draft Biden just got real

Vice President Joe Biden speaks during an event on April 9, 2015 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty)
Vice President Joe Biden speaks during an event on April 9, 2015 in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON -- A senior adviser to Joe Biden's late son Beau is joining the Draft Biden Super PAC to lay the financial groundwork for a potential presidential bid -- a key hurdle for the sitting vice president if he hopes to take on Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary.

Josh Alcorn, finance director and later senior adviser to Beau Biden, raised $1.2 million in six months in 2013 to fund Beau Biden's potential bid for governor of Delaware. Alcorn moved back to Delaware from Washington, D.C., to work on Beau Biden's bid after managing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's vast national network of donors as finance director. Alcorn traveled consistently with Beau and served as a political confidante.

Related: Will Joe Biden challenge Hillary Clinton for Democratic nomination?

Beau Biden's gubernatorial campaign was never launched because the vice president's son was diagnosed with brain cancer. He died in May.

"I'm thrilled that Josh is joining Draft Biden. Biden supporters across the country know how close he was to Beau and his family," Will Pierce, Executive Director of Draft Biden 2016, said in a statement Sunday.

"Josh joining the Draft Biden effort only increases the seriousness nature of what to date has been an enormously successful effort," Pierce added. 

While Alcorn's move isn't formally sanctioned by the Biden family, his new role lends legitimacy to a group that's built an email list of 170,000 potential Biden supporters. And amid news reports that a dying Beau urged his father to run for president, it's one of the first concrete and public steps from a member of the son's inner circle encouraging a challenge to Hillary Clinton.

Alcorn's goal is to use his perch at Draft Biden -- a small movement that's persisted mostly online and hasn't raised significant money or held large events -- to gauge interest from major donors in Joe Biden and Beau Biden's inner circles in supporting a bid. The super PAC can raise unlimited funds, and could allow top donors to send a message supporting Biden's potential run.

"With Josh's help, we'll be able to expand our fundraising to show the VP the country is ready for him to enter the race," Pierce said. 

Biden insiders say the former vice president is talking to aides and advisers as he weighs a bid. But many of Joe Biden's closest political advisers have already signed on with Clinton's campaign, including former national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

Still, insiders say that since Biden's son died in May, many of the family's longtime financial supporters have been asking where to send checks to encourage a Joe Biden bid.