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As Democratic field expands, Biden waits on the sidelines

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Former Vice President Joe Biden has been conspicuously absent from early voting states as he weighs a 2020 presidential campaign.

That makes him an outlier among Democrats eying the White House. Nine Democrats have announced full-fledged campaigns, two have launched exploratory committees, and several others are also blanketing Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

In a wide-open race, Biden’s take-it-slow approach has given other candidates a head-start in fundraising, scooping up top tier staff and perfecting their pitch to voters. It’s also given them a chance to chip away at what would be a central argument of a Biden campaign: that he is the only candidate who can defeat President Donald Trump in 2020.