Former Vice President Joe Biden has been an officially declared 2020 Democratic presidential candidate for weeks now, but he’s been taking it easy on the campaign trail, showing up to only a handful events — and, even then, often not in key primary states.

And his opponents are beginning to take notice.

The Washington Times reports that Biden has been “missing in action” from the campaign trail since early May, preferring to headline a number of high-dollar fundraisers in places where major Democratic donors congregate — like Hollywood, California, and New York, New York — over pressing the flesh in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.

This weekend, Biden should be attending a major event in Iowa with at least 19 other Democratic candidates, and this month, he should be prepared to walk the line at the Iowa State Fair — the traditional “coming out” event for presidential candidates. Instead, he’ll be keeping to himself.

“Iowa Democrats said the Biden campaign informed them he had a family scheduling conflict, which is why he’ll miss out on this weekend’s Iowa Democratic Party Hall of Fame where 1,500 state activists and political kingmakers will hear from almost every major candidate in the field,” according to The Washington Times.

The situation has to be frustrating for the approximately two dozen other candidates in the field. Biden has been running well ahead of his opponents in nearly every poll taken since January, and, as time goes on, seems to be gaining ground on his two closest competitors, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

Instead of duking it out directly with Sanders — a fight the Democratic socialist and the party’s progressive caucuses would no doubt welcome — Biden has been allowing Sanders and Warren to fight over the party’s progressive coalition. As a result, Sanders’ numbers have tanked and Warren has surged into third, leaving behind a pack of also-ran candidates.

The Times’ reports that campaign experts are backing Biden’s strategy — for now. In addition to keeping him above the fray until the field of 24 candidates is narrowed down much further, the plan to ignore the fact that a campaign is even going on keeps Biden in controlled and often private environments, well away from townhalls and high school gymnasium events where things can easily go wrong.

The plan also keeps Biden well away from his opponents and their supporters. Last week, even the most progressive candidates were nearly booed off the stage at a state Democratic convention in California. Warren was met with questions. Former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper was drowned out by critics who opposed his belief that socialism might not be the answer to the country’s ills. Even Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), who was on her home turf, was accosted by an animal rights activist over her lack of attention to the plight of America’s dairy cows.

All Biden had to face last week in San Francisco were “anti-Biden” leaflets, handed out between panels.

The problem is, Biden can’t hide forever, even if he wants to stay above the fray until he’s safely secured the Democratic 2020 nomination and is facing off against President Donald Trump. Sooner or later, someone is going to notice.

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