Joe Biden is aiming to return to Mayo as president of the United States.
The Democrat with strong Mayo roots is a candidate for the 2020 Presidential election and appears to be his party’s nominee-in-waiting as they bid to oust Donald Trump from the White House.
Biden has been a frequent visitor to his ancestral home and turned the sod on the Mayo-Roscommon Hospice facility in Castlebar in 2018, a link forged through his cousin and Hospice donor relations manager Laurita Blewitt.
Laurita travelled to the US last month where she shadowed her cousin and witnessed at first hand the remarkable turnaround in Biden’s nomination fortunes. The former vice-president had looked to be out of the race before last month’s Super Tuesday revival. He now holds what appears to be an insurmountable lead over his last-remaining Democratic rival Bernie Sanders.
However, with several states delaying their primaries to avoid the spread of the Covid-19 virus, Biden cannot reach the required majority of pledged convention delegates until May or June. The 77-year old is confident enough in his position and has even considered the possibilities for a running mate, saying he intends to choose a woman.
“When I was going over people were saying, ‘Ah it’s a waste of time, Joe Biden should leave the race’,” remarks Laurita. “But it was so clear to me when we were over there that the narrative was completely different from what was being put out there by the media. You could see the reactions of people and how highly they regarded him.
“All of a sudden it just flipped in South Carolina and it just went from there and he turned it around completely,” added Laurita, who flanked Biden on the trail in Nevada, South Carolina and Los Angeles.
“It was amazing. I just literally shadowed him for a week and got such a great understanding of American politics,” she explained.
Biden brought Laurita on stage in Nevada where he spoke about his Mayo and Irish heritage.
The Knockmore woman said it was clear that support for Biden was out there but had been initially overlooked following defeats in Iowa and New Hampshire.
“Once it was opened up to more diverse states then Joe became the real winner. There was total calmness in the campaign. They weren’t thinking that this was a disaster. I think they knew what was coming and Joe was totally unfazed,” said Laurita.
She said it was exciting to see the former VP in full flow.
“He is just as natural one-on-one as he is in public. I think that’s what people like about him. He looks like a politician, he sounds like a politician, he sounds like a president, and that’s what people in America want,” said Laurita.
Biden has emerged as the man to take on Trump with Bernie Sanders’ left-wing leaning failing to win over enough voters.
“The thing that people are voting for now is not whether they like Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders. It’s whether they can beat Donald Trump and they are voting for Joe as the person to beat Donald Trump and Joe is only relishing the idea of taking him on. This is where he wants to be and this is where he was born to be,” said Laurita.
Biden is already planning another visit to Mayo but this time is seeking to be in situ in the White House when he returns. “When I was leaving him on the last day, he said ‘I’ve got to come back pretty soon, and I’ll be coming back as President,’” Laurita recalled.