Who is Jason Palmer, the Democrat who delivered Biden his first primary defeat?

0
12
8c1b4dc672ce897e346229db585d042c

President Joe Biden was handed his first defeat so far in the Democratic presidential primary by a man who very few knew before Tuesday night: venture capitalist Jason Palmer.

The little-known candidate from Baltimore won the American Samoa Democratic nominating contest. While Palmer won in the tiny US territory – where fewer than 100 people participate in the caucus – it will not slow Biden’s commanding march to the Democratic nomination after the president dominated Super Tuesday races across the country.

“Honored to announce my victory in the American Samoa presidential primary. Thank you to the incredible community for your support. This win is a testament to the power of our voices. Together, we can rebuild the American Dream and shape a brighter future for all,” Palmer said in a post on X.

A Palmer campaign official told CNN the candidate had three full time campaign staffers on the ground but did not visit the island himself, instead appearing virtually at events.

Palmer told CNN’s Laura Coates in an interview early Wednesday he was “surprised” by his Tuesday win.

“I’m just proud to say my local team did a fantastic job, and I think our message really resonated about focusing on education, health care, and climate change,” Palmer said.

While he lauded Biden for his “tremendous service,” Palmer called on the president to “pass the torch to the next generation of Americans” and said he’ll continue his presidential campaign.

Palmer, who’s never held political office, launched his ambitious bid for the White House in November. He’s currently a partner at New Markets Venture Partners, a venture capital firm, and previously worked at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Microsoft and Kaplan, according to his LinkedIn profile.

The 52-year-old acknowledges on his campaign website that his candidacy is a longshot bid “with very little chance of winning,” and claims his campaign is more focused on “ideas, solutions and changing the conversation.” He is running in the Democratic primary, he said on the site, “because (1) I’m a Democrat, and (2) we don’t want to play a spoiler role in this election.”

“This is the most important election of the 21st century, and it is extremely important to keep Trump from returning to office for a second term,” he said of former President Donald Trump, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination and Biden’s likely rival in November.

The Biden campaign shrugged off projections showing the president losing American Samoa, with one campaign official calling it “silly news.”

Campaign officials found themselves telling reporters Tuesday evening that a very small number of votes is expected in American Samoa, and pointing out that Michael Bloomberg won the Democratic race there in 2020.

Pressed for more details, the Biden campaign official said Palmer had a “platform of being an advocate for American Samoa.”

In a video announcing his candidacy, Palmer vowed to be a champion for young Americans and touted his plan for a “talent economy powered by mission driven entrepreneurs and conscious capitalism.”

Last year, he participated in the New Hampshire Institute of Politics’ “Lesser-Known Candidate Forum,” appearing as one of 18 Democratic presidential hopefuls who lack national name recognition.

This story has been updated with additional reporting.

CNN’s MJ Lee contributed to this report.

For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at CNN.com